The year anniversary of our last break-in has come and gone, but this week the insecurity and discomfort has reared its ugly head.
One of our goals in living here is to build relationships with our neighbors, especially the kids/teenagers who spend all of their time on the streets. It has been a pretty easy thing to do because the kids just come to us. We live next door to the "candy lady" so our front porch swing has become the line for her door. We haven't had as much luck becoming friends with the teenagers. They're just too cool to hang out with us. My use of the word cool would probably explain part of the problem. Oh well. However, there is one boy who thinks we're interesting. We've really been spending a lot of time with him. We feed him, pay him to mow our yard, and basically hang out with him every day. So, you could understand how it would be discouraging when we heard (as we were packing the car to go out of town) that he had been named as being a part of a robbery down the street.
At first we were in denial and sure that he couldn't have done it, but since then, the amount of people that have felt the need to warn us about this kid and his "bad choice" is overwhelming. We still haven't talked to him. He hasn't come by the house and the latest that we heard is that he got arrested. We are giving things time to calm down before we approach him.
Now here is where I get to the nitty gritty. It is hard for me to believe that he was a part of this, but honestly (and why shouldn't I be honest with the internet) a big part of what bothers me is that we've been so vulnerable with him. It makes me mad where my mind has gone with this. While I was at my parent's house, I got a phone call from my neighbor in the middle of the night. She thought something was going on in our shed and wanted to call the police, but called me first. It turned out to be nothing, but of course it took me forever to go back to sleep. When I did finally fall asleep, I dreamed that this kid had somehow gotten us to leave several things unlocked and figured out a way in and out of the shed during all of his time with us. He led his friends in cleaning us out. Clearly that shows that my mind isn't in a good place with this. In the midst of my worry for him has grown this distrust and fear of how much we've let him in our lives, and therefore our house. I hate this. I don't want to value things over people. But then I also struggle with thinking that he should know how this has affected our relationship and as a consequence he needs to feel the difference in our relationship, but then, where is the grace.
That seems to be a constant struggle when interacting with the kids in our neighborhood: grace vs. wanting them to learn life truths. As a believer I want to err on the side of grace, but I've been a part of ministries that give grace to the point of crippling.
Please pray for this kid. He is still a kid and I believe he is at a crossroad. Pray for us as we sift through the godly response to this. We really believe that this is a huge chance to live the gospel to him. Pray for our neighborhood. It is hard to watch these kids who don't see any other option for their lives but dropping out of school and a life of crime. Thanks!