I live in a neighborhood that a lot of people thought I shouldn’t move to. I don’t like to call it a ‘bad’ neighborhood–because really, what makes a neighborhood ‘bad’ or ‘good’? & even by that oh so nebulous standard it’s not a ‘bad’ neighborhood. it’s full of kids riding bikes, neighbors yelling “HEY SARAH” (even though my name is not sarah), & people walking dogs. I run outside, I eat breakfast on the porch, I stay all night by myself sometimes. life is good.
sometimes there are flashing lights, but they never really bothered me until my car got broken into. it’s kind of unsettling to know that someone was going through everything in your car (which in my case included silly string, a bunch of construction paper, and a toothbrush… score). after that happened I got a little more nervous at night time. a couple of weeks after, david came over one day & we walked to the park at dusk to throw the frisbee. I normally never walk around alone in the neighborhood after dark, but with david, it felt ok & “safe.” we threw the frisbee (I’m really bad) & eventually walked home. it was nice to be so comfortable.
but as I thought more about it, I was reminded that, although I should be careful & wise, I shouldn’t be fearful (even without david). david is a good boyfriend who loves & protects me. god is an even better father. I love psalm 4 so much & have dwelt on verse 7 since I moved into our house: “in peace I will both lie down & sleep, for you alone, yahweh, make me dwell in safety.” that’s what I whisper at night when I hear creepy noises, when I’m nervous to go grab something out of my car. & then, after frisbee in the park & my car break in, I tacked those words (pictured above) from a prayer book on my wall.
I’ve been reminded of all of that this month as the nation deals with what happened in connecticut. as a human being, it was gut-wrenching. as an elementary school teacher, it’s been absolutely terrifying. all day on that friday I wanted to hug every single one of my babies so tight. I was so so thankful that they were ok. but there’s all kind of guilt & fear mixed in– why the kids in connecticut and not our kids? & what if our kids are next? this kind of evil is awful & the questions it raises are real. they shouldn’t be folded up quickly & quietly, tucked into the drawer of easy answers. the monday after we went back I could hardly think of anything else. all day was spent fighting hard to keep my mind on anything other than what if what if what if?
but that’s the thing about fear… if we allow it to gain a foothold, it will get deep in our souls & steal our joy. whether it’s being afraid to go to work every monday or being scared to go grab something out of my trunk after dinner, fear cripples & robs us of life. & that’s not good. that’s not what God intended. so I’m trying to spend more time playing at kindergarten recess & less time crying at my desk.
draw us into your love, Christ Jesus. & deliver us from fear. please.
p.s. here are some links I found interesting & helpful regarding sandy hook…
rachel held evans, ‘God can’t be kept out‘
obama’s statement gets me every time
challenging statistics about violence in chicago