Pictures of the former "dream club" being demolished to build a community center!
Home. The place where we go for rest, solitude, and to get refreshed at the end of the day. It's the place where I spend the majority of my time. I like it here. Most days. There is definitely some days that the choice to move into an "at-risk" (poor) neighborhood to do Christian community development seems stupid. Yes that's right stupid. When I'm sitting and eating dinner and the girl outside is screaming the f word at her boyfriend two blocks away I don't feel refreshed.
None the less here I am. Our four years of living here have been defined by numerous events. Our house was infested with bats. Although this wasn't a single event I have made it one in my head. We had bats at least once a week. Sometimes we woke up to them; sometimes we came home from Wednesday night church to one in the living room. It became some what funny (probably to keep from crying) to take the rackets to bed and leave them by the door when we left.
There was also the one random squirrel that got into our house. I woke up to a noise, thought someone was in our home and long story short, it was a squirrel. I called Jason and told him he had to come home from work. It was probably the most irrational I have ever been. There were squirrel footprints on my counter, and clean dishes, and windows, and walls. I refused to clean for a few days...and wasn't sure if I could handle any more animals.
We have had mice, cockroaches and ants. Every project we have undertaken has been hundreds of dollars more expensive than we planned for and has taken quite a bit longer than originally planned. We have invested in numerous people's lives who have moved and we have never seen them again. It is HARD living here!!
However in the past four years there have been enough glimmers of hope that I am glad we live here. We have seen people come out of addiction. Our church helped close a strip club that was actually a front for a prostitution/drug ring, and is now tearing down that building to build a community center. We are watching children begin to break the cycles of poverty. We are learning how to live in true community.
We have been here long enough that we know the people who live around us and their stories. This is one of my favorite things. The children I nannied for, for two years at my house knew the people who came by most of the time. They said hi to Jack and Jerry. They would talk to the people who came by everyday. I look forward to Abigail learning their names and talking to them. I also love that we have met new people because of her. They all call her little mama. I don't know why but it is endearing to me none the less.
I like that our daughter will not grow up being afraid of people who look homeless or different than us. Instead she will know that they have a story and need to be loved like everyone else. We will of course teach her about strangers and being safe, but she will at least not just see them as "bad people."
So despite the fact that the guys next door have been on the porch next door drinking since 7 this morning, and are still there at 8:30 at night, I am going to try to remember that home not feeling refreshing all the time is worth the choice to live here. All I have to think of is a man who used to live by us. He still rides his bike by to say hello. You see his mom died a few years ago and we went to her viewing. This is actually a typical response where I'm from. When someone you know loses someone they love you go to the funeral home to be supportive. Apparently he has never experienced anything like this. Whenever he is really drunk and comes by he tears up still and thanks us. It has been over two years now and this still means the world to him. And I would rather have this man know that someone loves and cares for him than to live in comfort!
Loving living in "the ghetto",