The world and my neighborhood are ripe with evil and hostility, that is true. But our morning walks remind me of another truth. Each morning the sun rises and shines on every person and the dew falls and refreshes every plant and animal. These daily happenings, along with the sounds of the creek and song of the birds remind me that there is kindness and goodness in the world. It is God's common grace on full display. The concrete spaces are marked with gang graffiti, but somehow, to me, they make all their surrounding that much more beautiful.
After Ian has made us eggs and ham and toast and we enjoy it together, Jack goes to the window in his room, climbs up on his rocking chair, points, and with excitement, and as if he is asking a question, he says "aaaAAAaa?!". He is eagerly awaiting his morning walk around Dresden Park.
Today we met Buddy, an elderly black man who I often see there. He was stretching at the playground and we walked over to see if the slides were dry. He said "good morning!" and I said "good morning" and he walked over and he held Jack's hand and spoke to him with such sweetness and gentleness. He said "Hi little guy, your not too cold are ya?". I told him his name was Jack and then asked his name. As we continued on our way he said, "Ya'll have a blessed day now".
I thought about his mismatched clothes and his old shoes, probably from the 1970's, and wondered what kinds of things he faces in his life and if he finds the same peace here.
Once we met an old white man named Maurice and his old hound dog, Hunter. He has lived in our neighborhood for over 30 years, but he and his wife often get out of Atlanta to catch the latest bluegrass band coming through.
Sometimes there is a group of Hispanic women doing Zumba in the pavilion on top of the hill and we enjoy their lively music.
God has given us his creation to enjoy. He has given us community to remind each other of his very own love and care. It is here, on these morning walks in the park that I find energy for the day. Later we will invite 30 children, and a handful of young adults and volunteers who invest in them, into our 2 bedroom apartment. Together we will help them with homework, make fall crafts, enjoy fresh fruit and a hot meal, and we will remind each other of the good news in Jesus Christ.