Thursday, February 25, 2016

Deciding Factors, Part 2

So, in order to get the point of "Part 2", you may want to reference Part 1. Or not. You be you. But...its pretty dramatic. Just saying.

After the Break-In Drama (or BID from now on. Just kidding. I probably won't call it that again) I was ready to move out. Move out of our urban and high crime neighborhood. And no one would blame me - I know this because they told me so. Family and friends told me so. My feelings to these comments were mixed.

Because, *sigh*, in the days following the BID (welp, looks like I lied, good thing you were paying attention), a flurry of thoughts, conversations, high falootin' comments and judgey snobbery all rose in my memory as a difficult circumstance stirred up the dross of my heart. And it was so obviously the gentle Show And Tell of God, letting me hear myself and see myself in tender retrospect. Letting me choose my words again and take back any posture or glance that....frankly, stunk.

So like I said back in Part 1, it was values choosing time. Rewind to years earlier: there was a day when John and I were so poor that we looked at (ironically, in this case) the better job and pay available through teaching in the local and urban public school. We said "this will be really hard, and not very rewarding, but if we see it as a mission field or a calling then we may survive and possibly do some good. It will meet our needs but also be about something bigger than just us."

St. Louis City has in its history distress and abandonment. If cities can have emotional baggage, this one is orphaned. Past legislature and shifting economics have sent a message to the City, "you are too much of a mess, we're leaving you."

After the BID I had some praying to do. And I began to dream of an abandoned little 2 year old girl up for adoption. She was young and sweet, so I said yes. And then when the little girl began to show the more difficult behaviors associated with 2 year olds I remember thinking in my dream, "oh right, this will be harder than I thought. Am I up for this? I hope I made the right choice."

Hm. What if we adopted our city? (its a metaphor)

So, I began to see the BID as a moment to re-up or move on. We stayed. 


So, here's an incriminating comment from my email:

 "I felt like I had to explain to [the kids], though, "this never happened to Daddy or I when we were your age." Its like I want to explain what's normal because maybe they don't know."


Why do we even use this word anymore? All 'normal' means is 'that with which I am most accustomed'. I mean it has the root word "CUSTOM" in it, which in its nature is an incredibly fluid concept!! Was I implying that my experience riding bikes and growing up in the suburbs was normal? What happened to our house wasn't normal for me, but was normal for the families in our neighborhood. 

This was only one of the the first doors (and in retrospect a more gentle one) we have had to walk through in our journey to deconstruct and re-establish our values as we do our best to follow The Lamb. Don't worry - white messiah complex is a door, my personal race awareness is a door, addressing the American Dream is a door, looking down my nose at Public Education is a door, and others that were equally humbling. So, so humbling.