If I could, without offending someone, I would take a photo of the orange police cone on the entry sidewalk in front of the apartment building where a man was killed last night. His family has now placed flowers, candles, and balloons a few feet from that spot.
The cone almost means more to me than all those pretty items. We so often hear that someone died, or that someone was killed. We rarely see where their life left our world. That orange cone marks the spot.
Last evening a birthday party was being held outside the apartment. The party was for the son of one of my F.R. friends. Barb, just a few years ago, was a gang leader here in town and amazingly brought to, and blessed by, the Lord, freed from her addictions and her several children miraculously returned to her by the social services department, a gift no one would ever have thought would come to pass because of her record and the long-time illegal actions.
Last evening, a man stopped by the bbq at her son's party to visit a friend he'd seen as he was passing the apartment building. Nearly immediately a car swung past, started shooting, up to a dozen shots, and he was killed. Steve was 54. So Barb's friend, Steve, was murdered and her son, Chris, was taken to the police station, questioned, and later released.
Can most of us even imagine this? Of course not! But when we met for prayer there this evening we were overwhelmed by Steve's family and friends. We had a blessed opportunity to pray for all of them and hold them and encourage them. I had my hands laid on the back of a young man, in his early 20s, and when the prayer time was past he thanked me. I now have that young man, Tray, in my heart.
Steve was the 18th murder victim this year, the vast number of them being shot by gang members, some related to the gangs themselves and sometimes, such as this event, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This is the first F.R. time I've attended since my surgery, and my energy level still ain't very high, but I couldn't not go. Why? I wanted to hug Barb and just let her know she is loved.
It was worth it, believe me!!