Living between fear and trust

I wasn't sure how to start this blog.  Some of the things I want to share will concern some of our family.  Others may think I am overreacting.  And if I hear one more person tell me that we should move, I may start scratching myself on the arms till I bleed.

We live in North Mpls.  Is it the most dangerous place to live in the Twin Cities?  No, but we sure are close.  We call it the hood, not the ghetto, the hood.

Over the years, all sorts of strange things have happened here, some of them dangerous.  On average we call 911 once maybe twice a week.  More often in the summer.

We live in the city and for the most I love it.  We are close to so many things.  We bike all over, walk to the store and thrive on doing all sorts of artsy fartsy things.  We love the variety and accessibility of food and theater and music and art and parks and trails.  It's wonderful.

We choose to live where we do because we couldn't afford anything else.  We choose to stay because we can't afford to move. Within the first month of moving in, my husband got jumped in the park one block from our house.  It is "our park" according to our kids because we walk there all the time.  We have been broken into a handful of times but no one was ever injured.  We have a two bedroom house where our space is limited, but we love that it forces us to live more simply, although I think it just forces me to be more creative in how I stash our stuff!  We have tried to move once, and then the economy tanked.  Like thousands of others, we ended up being tens of thousands of dollars under our mortgage.  The bridge that linked us to NE got blown up and since then, what was the riskiest place to live in regards to crime, shifted to where we live in North.  NE is now the art hub of the cities, weird right?  Then a tornado hit, demolishing already run down houses.  Where we sit now, we'll never be able to move.  I couldn't believe a houses value could sink quite as far as ours did.


The homes around here are looking great including ours.  A true blessing if you ask me.  Improvements that never would have happened without the force of the tornado.  The bridge opens at the end of June and I am curious to see how things shift again in regards to crime and shootings and deaths where we live.  Our area of Mpls was also chosen out of dozens of cities across the United States to receive a special improvement grant for our side of the Mississippi.  They will be cleaning up the north side of the river, adding trails, parks, businesses and making it a go to spot when traveling to the cities.

We live in this juxtaposition of good and bad, as most people do, it just seems to be kind of extreme.

In the last couple weeks, I have seem what usually is a whole summers worth of police cars.  A whole summers worth in the last couple weeks.

Eight cop cars and an ambulance brought out a man from a home on our block five doors down.  There was all sorts of screaming at the cops while they took the gentleman away.

Four days ago a young man was riding his bike to deliver a meal that his mom made for a friend three blocks away.  Two boys shot and killed him taking his bike in the process, two blocks from us.  Mindless, ruthless hate.

I wrote about the cops coming and arresting and searching for someone in the home right behind us.

Detectives have been searching our alley corner, including our yard for evidence to God knows what.

Twice in the last two weeks I have come home to different routes being blocked off by the police because they are looking for someone.

Three times I have come home and there have been drug deals/exchanges happening between cars right in front of our home.

Two years ago there was a girl shot and killed right in front of our house because she was at a party where there was angry gang activity.

That was the first murder that started a string of gang related murders over the next couple weeks causing that to be the most murders that Mpls has seen in over 20 years.

One year ago a party let out and while everyone was walking down the street they decided to smash our friends window while jumping on the hood of their car.  (Gheezz, writing all this together makes me a little nervous.)

I get it.  It happens everywhere.  I know that to be true.  Maybe it isn't as obvious where you live, maybe it is, but the murder of this boy on his bike has kind of been our last straw.  Mindless, senseless killing.

Before there was this sense of false security that if you leave "them" alone, "they" will leave you alone.  We call it targeted violence.  We lived in this belief that the main stream of violence happened within circles of people defending their territory, their family, or proving to themselves or to friends that they were dangerous enough to pull of "said" crime.  We know it happens around us, but our lives don't really intersect to bring us face to face to life altering violence.

There have always been random acts of violence.  A rape at our park at dinner time, a child dying by a stray bullet that was shot in the air, but now this.  Killed for his bike, two blocks away.  This poor boy did nothing wrong and his family will suffer forever.

The crime here seems to be escalating.  Other good friends who live in the hood have been feeling this constant low hope dread feeling as of lately.  They say they feel like they have to always be looking over their shoulder.

So now we are presented with a choice.  We can't move.  That isn't a choice, at least not right now.  So our choice is to live in fear or trust God that whatever happens can be worked to his glory, even if that means one of children suffer death or a permanent life altering handicap because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I don't know how to live in that place.  A place that allows my children to still play outside because their kids and they need to be outside without making myself sick worrying about their safety.  Do we always have to fear the person walking down the street?  That creates unfair judgement and fear to everyone involved.  What does that do to my faith and my heart when all I do is wonder and worry about things out of my control?  Perfect love drives out fear right?  In otherwords, that means trust.  I trust in God's love to be enough.  Trust his ability to work good out of all situations.  Trust him that even while my kids ride their bikes, that if a stray bullet hits one of them, he would still be good.

That feels like a tall order.  I don't want to be lazy in my parenting, and I want to be smart in listening to my gut, paying attention to what is happening outside and making smart choices.  That is how I make responsible choices for my kids.  That is how I make healthy choices for my family.  But for all my being responsible, accidents still happen and I don't control what goes on in my neighborhood.  In the middle of the day, while I was out with my kids, we were run down by the SWAT team. No way of seeing that coming.

So, we live in a scary place.  It feels scarier to me now more than ever anyway.  We make sure we are in before dark.  I am always outside when my kids are.  And I pray everyday that I could trust in God's ability to take care of us, even if something happens.  I pray for my ability to believe in his goodness.  That I wouldn't give up hope.  And I pray that he keeps my kids safe.  And if something should happen, that I would still have faith that he is good.

I'm not sure if a lot of this makes sense, mostly I just needed it out of my head.  The juxtaposition of living in a scary place and trying to be safe, while ultimately trusting that God will be enough.

There are many things I love about living in the city, but I'm not gonna lie, my heart is ready for my old brick farm house on acres of land.

I choose to trust that God is good.

Please keep the families of this young man in your prayers.  They have a lot of hate and frustration they need to work through.