Monday, June 30, 2008

My Neighborhood

This is a map of my neighborhood. The GACCA area where work is being done to take a neighborhood prized in its time and return it to some of its former glory. I love that about my neighborhood. It is rough, I have no problems admitting that. The work is just beginning and will take more time than I realize, I know that. But it is good work. It is noble work. It is work that hints at the Divine. After all, wasn't restoration of mankind part of Christ's work?

It has become written on my heart, this area of the world. These people have somehow become a part of me. This is my adventure, and as Chris sees work accomplished and more to be done and becomes involved, this becomes our adventure. God placed us here in August when we hunted for a house. And this month when we hunted for a house, He led us right back here.

But. . .the house isn't going as planned. Electrical and french drains were all we expected to see from the home inspection. Then a roof was added and we started to look for quotes. Electrical, french drains, and a roof were all we expected to read when we got the final report. Then a furnace and a water heater were added. A furnace nearing death, the years lived already more than expected, and a water heater rusted and leaking carbon monoxide. And mold, the bonus room in the basement, more work and less bonus. A growing list of needed estimates and a growing sum of money needed at the purchase. A reply asking for money to be credited the sale would be necessary.

The purchase price of a home is part of the public record. In our county, it is listed on the assessor's website. For cabinets-stock, removal of doors, carpet, cleaning, and painting a selling price three times the purchase price.

Little hope for the credit. Little hope for the house. What of the call to adventure?

I went to shower broken hearted. As the water flowed, I reviewed my day.

  • Our neighbor attends church at a church in the community. The church used to have an after school program. I am unclear about what happened to it, but they are discussing trying again. Would I be interested in helping with that since I have in the past run an after school program? If they want to try again.

  • A meeting of the Image and Identity subcommittee of the GACCA of which I happen to be a member and the sole newsletter representative. A small committee of two other community members and the Elm Street Manager. A wonderful discussion planning a fall festival--car show, kids carnival, craft show. I am planning the kids/family activities.

  • Our landlord called. He is a member of the GACCA board and I had asked to interview him about the background for the newsletter. Tomorrow night he will come for desert with Chris, Abigail, and I and will give me everything he knows and everything he has found in researching for the interview.

  • I think about some of the older people in the neighborhood who are frustrated and bitter and angry about the things that have happened since they were working and bringing money into the area. They have ceased to feel like this is their neighborhood. They have lost this space they worked so hard for not to young families--caring for their homes and properties, supervising their children, caring about their neighbors--but to slumlords and tenants without care or concern for anyone. They have cause to have negative feelings. But a community doesn't belong to those. A community belongs to those of us who care about a space, who share with and love one another. This neighborhood does not, or should not, belong to those passing through willing to pillage and rape, but to those who make a commitment to people and place.

Indeed this is my neighborhood.

As I dried off, I heard my speech to empower my neighbors (a speech eloquent in my mind but never to be given). I heard the Lord speak to my heart, perhaps my words were meant more for me.

Where there is little hope, there must be great faith.

Tomorrow we will submit our reply to the seller and I will pray and write for my neighborhood.


  1. Sarah,
    Hang in there girl. I'm inspired by your writing about the neighborhood. As the Lord lead you, he will pave the way; he has done that for me for two years here in Hunting Park. Love you.

  2. Wow - what a dilemna. Hang in there - we had the same issues with our house (not quite about the neighborhood, but the structure). But it all just seemed to be what God led us to. I still think that, after a water heater, sump pump, new floors . . .
    Good luck.