I’m often criticized for moving my family down to 4th street. To my face it’s stated kindly, as a question, concerned citizens:
“Are you sure that’s a wise move, for the children?”
“Well, what did your wife say?” (As though I dragged her to 4th street with a lock of her hair clenched in my enraged fist).
Then there’s what I hear behind my back:
“He’s crazy. He’s totally irresponsible. He’s not taking care of his family.”
“He is the worst parent, don’t they know they could get killed?”
My favorite is the one people direct at me when they say, “Don’t you know you could die?”
I always say with great cheer, “Oh I have every intention of dying.”
“What!? How can you even say that?”
“You’ll die too,” I shoot back, “One way or another, you’ll be dead before you know it. Car accident, house fire, old age, either way, you’re going down.”
This information is often met with a litany of facial expressions; shock, outrage, anger, silence, then a head nod, shrug of the shoulders.
“So,” I say, in follow-up, after they’ve struggled with this concept, “the question isn’t, ‘are you going to die?’ the real question is, ‘Since we all pay with our souls, where do you want cash that check?'”
In the book, Radical, by David Platt he addressed the American idea that life should be easy, that Jesus commands are secondary to the comfort he also offers. “Jesus loves you. – THAT’S ME!” “Go into the world and preach the gospel. – THAT’S SOMEONE ELSE.”
Or as Francis Chan puts it, “No, you’re crazy, because some day you’ll have to stand before God and answer for not following his commands.”
Here to me is crazy, Kids I miss, or have lost someone since i started this job:
1. 18 year old girl shot in the back while running from rival gang members
2. Two kids, ages 5 and 6 woke up to find they were sleeping with their mom; she was dead, mixed the wrong prescriptions.
3. Dad died of a heart attack; left behind four kids, mom works to make ends meet and is never home.
4. 18 year old shot in the chest 6 times, point blank range. We lost his friend too, so high all the time I almost didn’t recognize him when I ran into him while out shopping. It was the eyes, so dead.
5. Last year a kid didn’t have a Christmas tree, so I gave him one from work. When he and his mom left town, she came to me crying, her car riddled with bullet holes. I haven’t seen them since.
6. 5 kids that grew up with me, all in prison, or on the run for murder or attempted murder.
7. 3 suicides this year of kids I know and worked with.
Is that enough for now? Because there’s more. I could go on but there’s no point beating it to death.
Crazy to me is if I see my 8 year old son running with a knife in his hand, and do nothing to stop him.
If the area of Yakima I live in is really that dangerous, shouldn’t I do something about trying to stop it?
If you’re reading this and doing all you can for Jesus Christ, thank you. Awesome.
But if you’re like me, and reading this, you should be thinking, there’s more I could be doing. I only have so much life left. Have I used all my influence and abilities to reach as many people as I could have for Jesus?
Crazy to me, is being outside the will of God.
I can assure you that, where I live, feels like home to my family, and we’ve never felt safer.