The Lighter Side of Darkness {A Post by Tony}

“How was your weekend?”

It’s a question we ask each other and the normative response is generally,
“Great.”
Follow up.
“What did you do?”
And you find yourself going down a list of things you did that weekend.
People ask me this question and I’m always ready with a response based off who they are and what I really think they are asking.
There are people just asking in general how it’s going but they really don’t want to know.
Let’s use this weekend as an example. 
 
So on the follow up question, “What did you do?”, to that person, I would say,
 
“On Friday night we hung out with our kids, played games and watched movies.  Saturday we cleaned the house, and went shopping at Costco.  That evening, Kimberley took our three girls, along with Gane, to the Davis High school production of Beauty and the Beast and I stayed home with my son and watched Monster Trucks, a movie about a family of Friendly Octopus Sharks, or whatever they were, that help kids overcome the evil environment ruining oil company by becoming the engine in their trucks.  It was your basic E.T. rip off and my son was none the wiser and loved the whole thing.  We went to church, took three Madison House kids with us, took everyone to Starbucks afterwards and then that afternoon had a family of Madison House volunteers over to the house for dinner, just so they knew how thankful we are and how much their help and more importantly friendship means to us.”
That’s so happy! 

 

Here’s what I left out of that story. 
Friday night there was a prevailing feeling of spiritual darkness over the area.
At 10pm someone stood in front of our house and unloaded a .45 revolver into the house next door.
Six police cruisers, all with their lights off, pulled up within a matter of minutes. There was no ambulance so we had to assume no one was hit.  With no shell casings, no witnesses and no bodies, the police left within the half hour. 
Saturday morning one of the kids that lives in that house, a Madison House regular, came out on the porch to let me know that even though the bullets went through 3 of his walls, he was alright!
Great.  
Sunday afternoon the family of volunteers we had over decided they wanted to end the evening playing on the Madison House playground.  We headed over but in a matter of minutes we had to leave because an MH kid warned us that, “There’s a guy driving around with guns in his car and my brother said you guys should all get off the street and into your homes.”
As the family got into their car and left I walked back to the house and Kimberley and I could hear gunfire break out from the next street over.
Both those stories are true, I simply tailor them for who happens to be asking and what state of mind I’m in when asked.
Yesterday, Tuesday morning, our daughter Lyla was awakened by a crack addict screaming profanity and pounding on the dumpster in the alley behind our house as he came down off his high.  Someone called the police and a cruiser came down and slowly escorted him out of the neighborhood. 
Kimberley made mention later that she was feeling anxious that day and I began to pray.
That evening it was nice out and my family, along with Gane’ and a couple of the MH kids that live next door all sat out on the front porch drinking Starbucks and talking while we watched Lyla practice with her soccer team across the street.  During practice I walked over to the house next door.  Gang members were all over the porch as though they were expecting a war and I greeted the ones I know by name and made sure the ones that didn’t know my name now did.  I reiterated to them as I have many times that should anything go wrong they can come over to my house and we’ll help them out.
Jesus did not come to heal those who are not sick. 
10 minutes later Lyla came home from soccer practice and 5 minutes later a silver Honda pulled up in front of our house and shot eight times into the house next door (there’s one house between my house and their house, who is my neighbor?), hit the gas and disappeared. 
My wife, Gane, our kids and the MH kids all did as we’ve instructed and practiced many times, they hit the ground or piled into the house. 
Police showed up and cordoned off the area, tagging shells and taking witness statements.  Again, no one was hit and some of the gang members across the street lamented their disappointment that, “They didn’t have a chance to fire back.”
I silently thanked God they didn’t because it would have meant they were firing in my direction.
I spent the next half hour walking home scared kids that lived close enough and driving home the ones that didn’t. 
We have so much to be thankful for and this is where my mind always settles.
   
My wife and children, though a little shell shocked are fine.
This will mark our fourth summer living living on Fourth Street and it’s becoming old hat.  That’s not callous, it’s simply true. You live a certain way long enough and what may have seemed crazy or difficult at one time, now seems normal.
Lyla, didn’t seem overly concerned and when I asked her how she was doing she said, “I’m fine. It’s like you always say dad, Jesus is going to take care of us; whether it’s keeping us safe on earth or taking us to be with him in heaven, either way he has our back.”  
No Madison House kids or gang members were killed. Praise Jesus. We still have an opportunity to reach them before they stand before God.
I had an opportunity to talk more about Jesus to the kids I was walking or driving home.
If you would like to pray for us, please pray not only for us but that “Jesus’ love would continue to be acted out through our lives, and the kids will see our good works and glorify God, accepting him as their Lord and Savior.”
Pray that no one who doesn’t have Christ is killed. 
Pray that the community will start to see and act – Nothing changes when you do nothing. 
Thank you for all your prayers, volunteering and financial support, but most importantly, your  prayers.

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