Besides dinner and learning more about who Shalom House is (and what they do), there will be time to share experiences about violence. I hope that you might feel okay sharing your story-whether it turned out well yet or not. Here’s one of my Philadelphia violence experiences.
The first time I was around 4th & Jefferson (in 1999 for psalters practice), Joey Getz and I went to the corner store for a Sunny D break. While waiting in line, a man bum rused the cashier, hitting him in the face with the flat end of a pistol. Everybody (6 or so of us) hit the floor immediately.
My first thought was “I hope he doesn’t rob me, too”-which is kind of embarrassing. Then I hoped that he didn’t shoot anyone, especially Joey.
The robber left, and as soon as he was gone-so was everyone else in the store-with their items that they no longer were going to purchase. Without really knowing why, I put back my Sunny D and asked the cashier if he was okay. He had a trickle of blood coming down from his temple. He was dialing 911 and said he was fine, and that we didn’t need to wait around as witnesses or anything.
I’m not sure it worked out good, yet. A few months later several of us began a semi-intentional household at 5th & Girard, including a psalters practice room. Now I have 10 friends living less than a full block from the store.
I’m not sure what would be a good end to this story. I did see Jesus move in towards the hurt and the danger, I saw the casting out of fear as I literally moved closer to where such an event happened. Sometimes I wonder if I know the guy who did it or have seen him and don’t even know it.
(If that was you, thanks for not shooting anyone that day. I hope you are in a better place now. I’d love to meet up sometime and talk if you’re up for it.)