I wanted to write this post a couple of weeks ago, but as I watched and remembered all that our nation went through on 9-11-01, I just couldn’t share my story. But 9-11-01 was a tremendously significant day for me and Diane. That was the day that we closed on our home on Silver Avenue and moved into Glenwood.
In the midst of the world falling apart, we were unloading our possessions into a home with smoke-stained walls, metal cabinets, a plexiglass window with bars on it for our front door, and an unfinished basement that would have to be gutted of studs, brick, and dirt before it could be made into something livable. And I was terrified.
I remember wedging a 2x4 between the front door and the hallway wall, and going to be that night feeling such despair that Diane and I had signed a mortgage on a house built in 1908, now settled on a street with multiple crack houses.
We’ve come so far in 10 years, and I took time the week of 9-11-11 to look back at my old journal from those first months. Below is some of what I found (and don’t worry, there’s a much happier post to come after this one).
9-8-01 – Lord, we want to have a loving ministry there in that neighborhood; give us the courage and the conviction to step out in faith and in love. Show us where you want us to go.
9-17-01 – All I want to do is run. I am here in the middle of all the things I fear. I am afraid to walk Joe (my dog) around the block. Afraid to leave the front door open. Afraid to look at somebody wrong. I feel white and vulnerable right now. My yard is nasty. My house is in disarray from the move. We are $70,000 in debt. I am not courageous. I am scared. You tell me to be strong and courageous, but I’m not.
What have I done here? It was kind of romantic when this was an idea. Reality is not. Lord, I need you to change my heart from fear to faithfulness, to want to be here. Change my heart. Give me a love and burden for this neighborhood and an ability to love the people here.
9-24-01 – It’s been interesting that we’ve been ignored more here by our neighbors than in our old neighborhood. There was no “welcome wagon” on Pamlico or Whilden Place and it didn’t bother me. The folks we met there were the ones that we initiated with. Here the indifference is the same, but I tell my self it’s because people here don’t like us.
I will be free. We will be a part of this neighborhood. We will love and eventually we will be loved. I will walk in the power and freedom of Christ. You are my hope, O Lord, and you are our protector.
10-31-01 As I walked the neighborhood today I felt a mixture of loneliness, despair, and sadness. I see these kids and the obstacles they face, how so many of them are already hardened and angry. I see their parents, some of whom are open and some who seem angry or mistrustful of us. I thank you for this fear and confusion because they lead me back to trusting in you more and more. When I fear, it reminds me of the One who is my hope.
11-20-01 Lord, I feel overwhelmed by the construction project in the basement – I can’t even build a sawhorse!