We found the van window shattered when we went out to use it earlier this year. I think this was in April. A van window broken. Again. Somebody must have thrown a rock through the window this time. My good friend Sunny told me years ago, “People are stupid.” I called 911 to report it. Nobody showed up from the four seven.
"So love them anyway."
Ben’s bike was stolen last winter. We found it several weeks later, chained to a No Parking sign down on Adee Avenue near the Eastchester Deli. The police never responded to that 911 call, either. The homeless guy, "Face," who chained it there came riding up on a red Huffy bike. He agreed to open up the chain and give the bike to me, but he denied stealing it. “Yo dude, I found it on the sidewalk. The tire was broken.” I told him the red Huffy that he was riding was mine as well, but he can have it. He did not even deny that the red Huffy was ours. People can be annoying.
“Love them anyway, Rich.”
Our friends on E. 224th Street asked if I can help them hang blinds in the back bedroom a few weeks ago. Apparently the two girls saw the shadow of a man creeping around in the backyard at night, trying to look in. What a weirdo. People do the strangest things.
“Rich, I have been telling you. Love them anyway.”
Two days later, our other friends stopped by to hang out for a while. They live on E. 224th Street adjacent to the house of the ones who asked for help to install the blinds.. We found out from them that the previous week, the 12 year old boy had been in his room, lying awake on his bed at night. The back window was open, but the window bars were in place. A man’s long arm reached into this boy’s room, and the boy screamed and screamed. His mother called 911, and the boy told everyone that would listen, “It was a man hand! It was a man hand reached in through the window!” That is just plain freaky. What is this man doing reaching in the window? Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Earthlings, humanoids, strange random creatures floating on the whims and feelings of the untethered self.
“They are created in my image, Rich. I love these people. Please, as you have received my love, love them anyway.”
In September, a weirdo opens our back door in the middle of the night. This guy walks into our house, through the basement bedroom, up the stairs, and then assaults our nineteen year old daughter in the house. Thankfully she screams loud and fights him off, so he runs away. I get down from upstairs just in time to find out that a man has been in the house and run off. This guy must be some piece of work. Crazy, man. If people keep doing these kind of things, what in the world are we to do? How do we love our neighbors well, with open hearts, if there are crazy people out there? The detectives tell us that the night after the incident they booked a man for a separate offense who has been charged previously with seven burglaries. The detectives are certain this man is the one who entered our house, but they cannot pin this one on him unless a witness can identify him or unless they match fingerprints. People may be strange, but that does not give them any right to come uninvited into my house and assault my daughter.
“I am your God, Rich. Do not fear men. No person can separate you from my love. Remember, Rich, you have been an unlovable chap many times in your life, but I have always loved you. You have been given much. There is much to be given. Love them anyway.”
When a friend bails out of a long term rehab program because “The guy was pushing my buttons,” I want to grab him by the hair and shake some sense into him. How is that people think they are autonomous creatures of choice, but as soon as someone around them does something wrong they blame their own poor choices on the people around them. Mark this. As soon as you place the responsibility of all your choices on those around you, you self-destruct your value as a person of creative, meaningful choice. And you give all that power to those around you. That’s a lot of power to give people. Especially crazy people.
“They’re crazy? Love them anyway. You’re a little nuts sometimes yourself, and I love you.”
Thanks, Lord. I needed that. And yes, since You love me so well, how can I not love them anyway? Apart from you I can do nothing. Give me your love. Your kindness leads me to greater running-over infilling of your love and repentance. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Son of the Father, husband to Sandy, father of six amazing gifts, Bronx brother, active participant in Believers in Jesus Church, insurance adjuster, occasional runner