Miracle on Mt. Elliott-The Fierce Urgency of Now

22 Jan



I returned home the other night, troubled, dazed, and in disbelief. Yet another one of those miracle moments.

Last week on Friday night, the girls got together at the house to discuss what we started last year...dialogue around ‘intentional community’.  What exactly is intentional community?  How about a truly diverse community space where folks share fundamental values - like respect for people and nature … where we are in service to one another. 

We ‘heart stormed’ on how to do this. Do we share food through the gardens we cultivate and reap the spiritual benefits that come with touching and caressing the soil? Or do we create a store that sells locally-made goods with an adjoining common space for community conversation. Always, in our vision, there is plenty of ‘walkability,’ and safety for the children to play, pick fruit and chase butterflies. 

Sound like a paradise?  It is and it is my community and we are creating it right now. The conversations are starting and we are excited.

That evening the energy was high, we had shared with each other and said ‘goodnight’. It was the end of the evening and I was taking dinner to my sister and a friend. I left the house at 7:45pm and drove west down Charlevoix. It was a quiet night but very dark. You know the Mayor & Company turn the lights out in my community, no money.

As I approached Mt. Elliott and Charlevoix, I saw a person standing in the middle of the street - I assumed he’s crossing it. That’s what I was thinking until I notice his right shoulder turning toward me. This is where prior training clicks in (training that I took many years ago for a security job). This person had a weapon and was about to shoot me. 

I felt myself floating along the street and heard the crack of a large caliber gun. Like an unsettling dream, I continued my drive west to Gratiot and ‘round the curve to the freeway and my sister’s house. Before parking, I got out of the car. The shot had hit the windshield on the driver’s side and blown a hole in the lower part of the windshield, close to where my face was at the steering wheel.

My first thought was I couldn’t let my sister know; she would freak and surely become ill. I arrived at her door with the food and told her I would check on her the next day.  Once I arrived back home and sat down, I had the strangest feeling...not of being scared and trembling but a feeling of ‘lightness’ or ‘other worldliness.’ I went to bed and didn’t sleep well.

The next morning I drove my car to a friend’s shop to repair the windshield so my family and friends wouldn’t know what happened. While I was there, Hank said to me, ”Honey I can repair the car but I can’t repair you. The slug is from a sawed-off shotgun that was aiming at you and had you passed him 4-6 seconds later, enough for them to get their arm up, we would not be having this conversation.... and you don’t even look scared.”

But I was. I was shaken and terrified. It took the weekend for me to reconnect with myself and others. Monday was MLK day, a time of honor for a great leader, but I couldn’t bring myself to write a blog. I kept asking myself:  How do we celebrate a spiritual leader who witnessed and took action against what was happening to Blacks and other folks of color all over America?  By more talking? By me writing a blog?

Those of us who live, work and play in this community are in urgent need of re-imagining how we can live with this violence everyday. We need all the help we can muster because people are hurting so badly. My people are out of their minds from the drugs that are intentionally brought in to us. They are losing hope.

People who are hurting from the emptiness in their lives medicate themselves, whether that medication be illegal or legal drugs and alcohol. The situation is URGENT!

This is the urgency I live with when I work to stay vigilant enough, prayed up enough and committed enough to be the change that is so badly needed in my community. Don’t get me wrong, no pity party needed, I have died once and no fear there. But I dream endlessly of a day when the children no longer have to live their lives like this - to be prey or predator. It is time to move past theory and begin practicing the transformational work that will save us all.

This situation is happening all over Detroit and soon all over America. But my friend, I see a light at the end of this tunnel that one day it will be different. That day is today and we are the ones, right here, right now, who will create it.

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