So I spent this morning going over a few "notes" from Facebook and reposting the ones I felt were still significant to my blog. But I read one that I wrote that talked about my choice to move into my current home. This note was written within the first few months of me living here... that was over 4 years ago. And a lot has changed. So this repost is somewhat of a reflection and update.
Original "It's Now Where You're From It's Where You're At" (February 2008)
So for those of you who don't know, I was led by God (and a fluctuation housing market) to buy a home in a not so nice section of Baltimore. Ok, so they filmed the majority of The Wire within a 5 block radius of my home. If you look at the pictures it is hard to believe what lies outside my door. Not down the street, or even up the block. But right outside my door. To give you a small idea of my area, the man who lives extremely close to me (I would say next door, but that would be too obvious, because the other house is abandoned) sells heroin, some kind of pill and lets people pay him to get high in his house. When I walk to my car in the morning I am greeted by the local junkies, some strangers but most of them know me as "Teacher" or Miss D.
Most of the time when people first come to visit they are confused by my surroundings, to say the least. Let's be real, sometimes I have no idea what I am doing here. But then I remember that I was led to this area and in all faithfulness I asked God to put me here if that was His will. (Funny how His will for me never involves a new car or trips to Italy). So when I moved in and the local drunk lesbian who also takes methadone helped me and my people unload the car, the adventure began.
I honestly, never thought what I had done was such a big deal. I mean this is the strongest community I have ever been a part of.
1. When someone tried to steal my fence - the old white drug dealer stopped them
2. This summer I would open my door to a fresh apple on my mailbox, as a way of saying thank you for teaching our kids...Ok, really it was saying 'dang you toes look good in those sandals'. But either way it was more than this young guy had given someone in a while.
3. When a strange junkie hit my car, the other ones came to my rescue knocking on my door and buffing out a lot of the scratches before I was finished getting dressed.
But I recently started to share the true reasons for my living choices and it seemed to have an effect on people. It also made me start to d even more.
It has changed me significantly. I worry less about the bag I am rocking (ok, maybe not less, but I care about other stuff just as much) and start to pay attention to those around me. I realized that EVERYONE has a story, and if you take the time to hear it, it may do them some good.
I don't stand on a soap box and scream "Jesus loves you" at the top of my lungs. I just make eye contact, share stories, listen, listen, listen and laugh.
You would be amazed at what that does for the human spirit. And all of these people who I meet at the rock bottom of their lives, I like to think, are a little changed by the small amount of God's love I try to pass on by these little gestures of humanity.
So, basically, if God is calling you somewhere strange, or to do something completely out of character, know that the benefits package that comes with "His work" is amazing! and unexpected!
Since then I have started the "Red Couch" bible study, watched several people get "clean" and come back and share their stories with me or come back and relapse. I threw a party and invited my people along with the folks from my block and watch as my old friends came right into the house and celebrated while my neighborhood folks just stayed outside and enjoyed from a distance. This alone taught me so much.
Now the housing market is still crappy and I often times wish I lived in a place where I could just walk out of my front door and go for a jog, leave my car unlocked when I run back into the house to get something I forgot or other care free wishes that faded in the 70s. But I am still here, still sharing God's light and the gospel. I have made a lot more friends, I still know the drunk lesbian, own too many expensive bags and get Christmas cards in my mailbox from people in an ongoing fight with drug addiction. People in the neighborhood come to me for advice, prayer or to fix a broken door. And I go to them for smiles and stories. I still sit on my stoop and "do life" with my block.
There has been even greater change in me. I have gotten a new car but no trips to Italy. My heart has grown for a people I once never even considered in my day to day thoughts. I have been convicted at times for doing nothing more than living on this block and not speaking about the grace God has for us all, or even just talking. But that is the ebb and flow of life. I am not a saint people! Just a sinner saved by grace and these people on this block have seen many sides of me. If you asked them about me you would get a lot of different answers, good and bad. But if you ask them about the God I serve, wether they know Him or not, they would all say I love him, and He loves me and some of them would even say that He loves them too.
So as I grow, redecorate and one day move on the mark that will be left will most certainly be on my heart. I am thankful almost every day for God's desire to break and reshape me on this block alongside these people I call friends!
- The Big Eyed Girl
- I am well into my 30s and realize that I see the world differently than most of the people in my life. My views and beliefs are eclectically infused by my multi-racial background, love of the triune, over active brain, dual handedness and open mind to way too many things.