I was outside the other night, just staring at the African night sky. It is expansive. And so dark. In the middle of millions of people, there are still innumerable stars to see. It was really quieting. I sat and stared at the Big Dipper, then I watched a plane, a tiny white light, fly right through it.
There was beauty in the darkness that night. And the darkness is a scary thing around here. There has definitely been a rise in gun violence lately. We’re told that it’s always the case around the holidays. The holidays cause the desperate and the destitute to snap. And it is always in the darkness that these things seem to occur.
And, somehow, our house has been spared from any real drama. Our neighbors all have electric fences and attack dogs. They have infrared sensors and armed security. We have none of that stuff. And yet, we have never been robbed. There has been no home invasion. There has never a violent crime to speak of at the Mission House.
As I noticed my surroundings, I think I began to uncover the reasoning. Our yard is a mess. It is overgrown with weeds and vines and uncut grass. The house is more or less in shambles, with a rusting roof and broken doors. The pool in the back is a foul-smelling, rotting cesspool, a bacterial heaven.
Basically, it is obvious that whoever lives there doesn’t have anything worth stealing. The neighbor’s perfect lawn and house (and the attack dog) implies that there is value inside. And so they are targets. We are not.
We are safe precisely because of the undesirable conditions we live in.
Sometimes we long for the things that we don’t have. We regret things never done. We look back over decisions that seemed to have gone the wrong way. And we lose sight of the fact that everything, at that moment, is in its place. And that some of the greatest blessings may simply be the silent results of things unplanned.
That relationship that never quite worked out like we hoped it would. It led here.
That tragedy that we would have done anything to have avoided. It led here.
That decision that we were so unsure of. It led here.
And here, whether we know it or not, is exactly where we are supposed to be.