in the cracks

The night before last there were a couple of guys that showed up on the porch late, very drunk, asking for some blankets and pillows. As I went to get them, one of the guys opened the door and came into the house and I had a hard time getting him to leave; he was ungrateful and angry and aggressive. But I finally left them outside with bedding and locked the door again.

Just I was getting into bed, one of the women started yelling that there was a fight. I hurried to dress and went out. And the belligerent guy was lying in the driveway beside the house, unconscious and bleeding from the head. He had apparently been thrown over the side of the porch by the other guy and fallen about ten feet to the pavement. Someone called 911.

Paramedics came quickly, and also the police. There were sirens and flashlights in our faces and many questions; the police were suspicious of everyone, including me. Then the injured man, Willy, was taken to the hospital and the other man, Kenny, was taken by the police. Everyone was shaken by the experience.

The next morning, Heather and I took a walk, trying to work out some of the tension of the previous day. We climbed a tree in the park and sat together. Heather cried.

Then I said I thought our love was especially important here. I said it was like a flower that grows up between the cracks in the sidewalk in a rundown neighborhood. That flower is precious. It is a sign of hope. Heather said she loved seeing flowers growing in the cracks.

I meant our love of each other, but also the love that comes from God for everyone we meet. It's really a tender and fragile thing. Easily crushed, if we let it be. And often overlooked because of the harshness and brokenness all around. But it is life. An inspiration to anyone who notices it, a gift of God to remind us that he can reach us anywhere.

To tend that precious, tender, fragile flower in the cracks. That is my most important task here, I think.

I have to remember to call the hospital again today to check on Willy.