Do you cry…

…for the 13 year old Somali girl who was stoned to death for “adultery” after being raped by three men?

…for the children who were nearly crushed by a mob as they tried to get food or for the rest of the brutal, bloody, forgtten war in the Congo?

…for the victims of terrorist attacks in northeast India?

…for the Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian rockets?

…for the Palestinian civilians killed in the Israeli counter-attacks?

Does any of this make you cry?

Do the things that break the heart of God break your heart?

Do you do anything about it?

Do you vote?

Do you pray?

Do you cry?

A Strange Occurrence

I was assaulted tonight on my way home from a friend’s house. It was kinda strange. I was walking down the street and it seemed like two people were following me. I heard them talking, and I could have sworn one of them said, “Why are we running away from him?” As they got closer I was alert and aware, but I didn’t realize exactly what they were doing until after they hit me.

One of them punched me in the back of the jaw and then they both ran the other way. I had gotten a pretty good look at one of them. He was around 15 or 16 years old and probably 145 pounds. I was a bit shaken but turned around to find them a decent ways away from me. I must say that my response probably wasn’t the greatest for a lot of reasons. I told them in some some not so nice terms to come back and get what was coming to them.

The one who was still around and who I had gotten a good look at yelled something at me. I don’t remember exactly what.

So many things about this situation amazed me. I was surprised that they attacked me at all. They didn’t try to take my wallet or anything else. There were people on their stoop across the street. It was a fairly well lit area, and judging by the size of the one guy (and I think the other guy as well), they ran a serious risk of getting greviously injured should I have fought back. That said, I’m somewhat surprised I wasn’t hurt worse. If they had some sort of weapon, they chose not to use it.

I’m not exactly sure how I feel about how I handled the situation. I probably shouldn’t have yelled back, both because it wasn’t the right thing to do and because you never know what will happen when you provoke someone. I called 911 and reported what had happened, and I chatted with the people on the stoop while the police came and took a statement. I gave them a description of the one guy I saw clearly.

Part of me wishes I had turned around and confronted them before I got hit. I’m pretty sure that would have ended in either no one getting hurt at all or two guys who would think twice before attacking someone again. A large part of me wants to beat the snot out of them. What just occurred to me was that I need to pray for them, so I’m going to stop writing for a minute and do that. Although, I’ll be honest; I don’t really want to.

I prayed for them, and I prayed for myself. I prayed honestly that I really didn’t feel very much love for them, but that I know God cares for them too. As I began to pray my heart began to soften, and I prayed that God would work in their lives, that He would help them to forgive themselves once they knew what they had done. I also prayed that God would help me to forgive them.

The whole thing was very strange. I ran the gamut of emotions from wanting to leave the city to wanting to rain down wrath upon their heads. Part of what’s odd is that I’ve always felt relatively safe in the city. I’ve always tried to watch myself, and I’ve only had one other incident, but that was even stranger, a long story, and not something where I was actually attacked, just a bit of an out of the ordinary confrontation with someone who I’m pretty sure was a drug addict.

One of the thoughts that ran through my mind as I finished walking home in the torrential downpour that started right after I finished with the police was how minor this was in comparison to what so many people deal with. Someone hit me, and it was someone who couldn’t have really done much more damage (barring having a gun or knife or something). People live in neighborhoods where they hear gunshots on a regular basis. There are communities that regularly mourn violent death, and that is just here in America. It doesn’t even begin to address the tragedies that occur in places such as Iraq, Darfur, and China.

In all I’m fairly lucky. If that’s the worst thing that’s happened to both my wife and I in the nearly three years that we’ve lived in DC, I’ve gotten off pretty easy.

I’m not sure what exactly comes of this. I don’t know how this will change the way I act and think. Right now I feel kinda like I did when I spun my father-in-law’s truck across four lanes of LA traffic. I didn’t really want to get back in the driver’s seat. Right now, I don’t really want to go walking around the city. On the other hand, that’s no way to live your life, especially considering that I don’t have a car, so I walk everywhere.

I know this wasn’t the most well written post. It was mostly stream of consciousness to help me think things through.

I think I’m done writing now. I’m definitely not done processing. I know I need to keep praying, both for myself and for those boys, not to mention for this city. I’ve resisted calling them kids throughout this. I think because I’m somewhat angry (although less so now than when I started writing). I want them to be held responsible, but really, they’re just kids. They’re kids that need to be taught and loved. They’re kids who probably don’t have the greatest home lives. They’re the children about whom Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

So, if you get the chance, say a prayer for me that I will finish processing this and will forgive, but more importantly, say a prayer for them that they will come to know Christ and His love for them. And God, if there’s some way I can be a part of that, then use me in that way.