It was quite the morning. I overslept as I had set my alarm for 6:15 p.m. and not 6:15 a.m. Oversleeping during the week is not a big deal. It is a big deal on Sundays, however! I got ready in a hurry and walked out into the pouring rain. My car was parked a block away from my apartment building, and it was finally in sight. I could hardly wait to get inside of it and out of the rain.
As I got closer to the car, I realized that my rear view mirror had fallen off. It has fallen off before, so I was not that concerned. I then noticed a little steam coming off the hood, and then I started to hear the engine. The engine was running. The car was exactly where I had left it -- where I had turned it off and locked the doors -- but the car was running. I then walked around to the passenger side and found the window completely down with rain pouring in. I peaked inside and noticed that the entire key shaft had been torn off. Someone had broken into my car and successfully turned it on. They could not drive it, however, because it had a Club anti-theft device on the steering wheel.
It was quite a morning.
I first called Craig. I then called one of the church's interns to let them know I would be late. And then I phoned the police department. They told me not to get into the car so I stood there -- in the pouring rain.
I soon watched as a police car approached. It was not the car sent for me -- but the officer quickly pulled over and came to my aid. Officer Sarah from the 3rd District was amazing. She was calming and helpful, telling me how easy it is to get into Jeep Cherokees. She then invited me into her car while she collected all of the necessary information. Meanwhile the other officer stood outside, continuing to take notes on my car. The two then followed me downtown to the church, so that I could park it somewhere off the street. And one of the officers showed me how to turn the car off with a screwdriver, reassuring me how easy it is to steal Jeep Cherokees. My car could be turned off and on with a screwdriver!
The people who got my car started did not take anything. They left an expensive pair of sunglasses, several CDs, and my clergy robe. They simply wanted one thing -- to be able to take my car for a joy ride until it ran out of gas. The likely criminal is a young person -- a teenager -- trying to prove himself to his friends. They call it a game - a game that is won when a car is entered, started and stolen.
I call it a call to prayer.
God, please continue to be with all of the people in my neighborhood. Be with the young people who hang out on street corners and huddle around the city blocks. Be with the two young men who threw eggs at my car several weeks ago and with the individuals who successfully got my car door open and the engine started without a key on Saturday night. Reveal yourself to them and to me in a powerful way - in the kind of way that enables all to see what is right and what is wrong.
And God, help me to see where the church can step in when society is falling short. Help us to pray for the neighborhood in which we have our being and the city we are called to serve. Help us to befriend the young and the old, welcoming on the inside those who are too often on the outside. Help us to take an active interest in young people -- especially young men and women who walk too close to the edge. When families have failed them, help us to befriend them. When no one else wants them, help us to love them. Amen.
I am tempted to sell my car and start using Flexcar. Please let me know if anyone is interested in a 2000 Jeep Cherokee 4w4. After the shop completes the $2,600 repair bill, it is going to be in top-notch shape, ready to roll!