My neighborhood is coming alive. That's how I know it's spring. Sometimes it literally feels like people are pouring out into the streets. After school, there are kids everywhere – they have a tendency to "gather" right outside my building. Which is awfully neighborly of them but just a tad loud. It's what happens when you've been cooped up for 6 months straight – you get a little crazy. Ah well, most of the time I can live with it. I'm not sure they'd be too stoked if I started hollering out my window. So I just turn my music louder.
But seriously, be praying for the city of Chicago. With warmth comes violence. On the warmest weekend of the year so far, there were 36 shootings in as many hours. Such a strange way to welcome spring. I pray for my neighbors and these broken, beloved 'hoods daily. Join me in the petition for peace.
In other news, I'm feeling a little behind on my spring veg eating. So this week I roasted and ate an entire bunch of asparagus. Last night's dinner was cold stalks of roasted asparagus with hummus and olive oil, because it was strangely 90 degrees and I needed quick, cool, and easy. We marked spring and our first meal outside – Easter dinner – with this really incredible spring salad from a favorite food blog: avocado, spinach, pea shoots, almonds, and feta, with a zesty lime yogurt dressing. I've only had it once, and it's already one of my favorite salads. Pea shoots are now on the Trader Joe's grocery list, thank you very much.
I also got to hang out with some really cool folks in some really cool neighborhoods of Chicago last week. Can I just say, there are people out there doing great work in tough places and dedicating their lives to transforming other people's lives. It's amazing. I heard stories from a psychologist at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center – I mean, wow. I walked away thinking, "She is a saint." I also learned that it costs over $200,000 per year to imprison a juvenile. This is craziness. I could not believe the stats and stories I heard. There's a whole lot of injustice in the justice system.
I'm grateful for little communities like Canaan Community Church, who is a powerful presence in Englewood. They are a small but mighty wonder.
When I think about these stories, these places, I wonder if we are expecting God to do greater things than he's done before. Or are we just eating out of our own hand, doing things on our own initiative? The great Oswald Chambers says this is a downward path. We have lost the vision.
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?
If he can pour the waters from a jar and tell them where to stop, surely that same God can give us the courage to expect the same faithfulness and might, to reach for the heavens, here and now.