Thursday, November 19, 2009

piecing it together.

I wasn't expecting so many cars when I got down to Ohio City for the memorial service last night. I was expecting the news crews circling like vultures when they smell death.

I could see the windows lit up at St. Patrick's and I got inside just before the service started, trying to pray and contemplate and collect my thoughts which is sometimes so hard to do when everyone around you is devastated. Besides Jody & Ernie, I really didn't know anyone else there, recognized some people from the drop-in center and the Catholic Worker house, wandering souls that I've seen walking down Lorain Avenue.

Seeing Ray's picture by the prayer cards make me choke up and I wonder what he would have thought of the first minister there invoking a "holy one called by many names yet nameless" when he most definitely was whispering "Emmanuel" as he died after helping the others escape.

There was a lot of talk about coming together as a community and being united and getting in touch with our "better selves," but the longer I exist on this earth, I am less and less convinced that it is true. Not that we don't do what we can, but honestly the only real change I see is what God does in us and how that affects the way in which we live and view others.

Sure, you can move back into the neighborhood and fix up an old house and bring up the property values and keep your money in the city by going out to the theater and the nice restaurants, but do you care about your neighbor? Do you think about the struggles that you see around you? Do you consider them a nuisance that you hope goes away when more people like you move in? Or do you get involved and engaged? Your idea of a quality of life is not the same as another's.

Loving this city is not just about the cultural amenities, the sports teams, the funky neighborhoods, and the happening arts scene. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is cool and I enjoy it too. Still, you can find that kind of thing almost anywhere. I could have moved somewhere else and found more lucrative employment, but I stayed here because of the people.

I love this city because even though it's profoundly corrupt and falling apart, the people here are amazing. If you don't care about your neighbors and look out for them, it doesn't matter how you live or what you do on the weekends, you don't care about your city.

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