|I was probably 6 in this picture :)|
Three or four nights a week, I wouldn't be able to sleep because of loud fights on the front stoop, or rowdy 4am hang-outs in the stairwell that we share a wall with, or elaborate drug whistles, or every once in a while, because I'd hear gunshots down the street or around the corner. And the other day, like I mentioned, water from the apartment above us came pouring out of our light fixtures ... and it's let's face it, it's a small space, with 3 women in it ... but that I can handle because I love them. Ha!
But right when I'd nearly made up my mind to leave, I felt like God was saying, "My grace is sufficient for you." and "Don't leave it - change it." So I blasted worship music and started praising God and praying over my neighborhood and my building until I was literally crying and realized that God had moved my heart from a place of fear to this visceral intercession for the people around me - people my age who I have little conversations with on the way in from the grocery store, who may not have anyone advocating for them before God, or anyone who recognizes that war that's being waged against their potential. And then I got mad, as in, "Devil how dare you try and choke the life out of this neighborhood?! How dare you try and wrestle the future away from these young guys?! ... and how DARE you try to disturb my sleep. Christ is Lord here!" ... and by this point I'm punching the air like a boxer training for a fight. Yep ... it was intense.
And I felt this unbelievable love and courage welling up in me. I felt like little Lucy in one of the Narnia books (don't remember which one), when she found herself facing all of the White Witch's armies alone. And then the army she was facing began to quiver, and she turned and realized it was because Aslan, the King, the lion, was standing beside her the whole time.
|photo credit: www.ppr3.go.th/ narnia-lucy-and-aslan&page=6|
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Security is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of Jesus."
As much as it's frustrated and scared me at times, I love my neighborhood. I have friends here and I know my mailman and while my favorite coffee shop was around this summer, I played music to my neighbors every Saturday for 4 months and talked to them for hours, and there's a bakery that makes double chocolate chip cookies that are seriously 3 inches thick, and there's a beautiful Senegalese community that's been here forever, and there's this adorable little kid who's eating a popsicle every time I see him, and I can walk to Central Park in 5 minutes, and even though it sometimes disturbs my sleep (note to self: no more 1st floor - front of the building apartments!) there's such rich community in neighborhoods where people hang out on their stoops.
|A going away party for a friend at our neighbor Ash's house. Photo: Jen Wang|
To read my absolute favorite posts about life in the city, love and relationships, being a singer/songwriter ... for a living, living well, and community, head over to "The Best of Long City Walks."
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