Disclaimer: I’m not editing this; just posting
Last night, Gabe and I were in a pretty intense conversation over something mildly ridiculous but had been causing me to feel somewhat manipulated over the last few years. While we were talking, Gabe was going to put out some recycling (I honestly don’t even know what he was doing, because I was focusing on our conversation) or something and when he opened our front door we were suddenly bombarded by the shouts of 8 to 9 people. Looking out our window, we saw that a huge group of young people (probably ranging from 18-25 and then a middle aged woman (40’s?) were yelling at one girl.
This girl climbed onto our neighbor’s porch (mind you, the neighbor’s porch that she was one is one of our closest friends here…an 84 year old lady) and the mob of people started taking the recycling off of the street and throwing it onto the porch at the girl. They were throwing huge boxes at her, papers, cans, etc…even the recycling bin as they screamed at her to get off the porch. Eventually, a few of them climbed onto Pat’s (our friend) porch as well and the girl jumped onto the next, connected porch (our other friend) as they followed her. The lady’s porch that she was now on (Janet) was where her aggressors finally cornered her. Janet showed up at her door, hearing all of the yelling and started to open it and look out just as they all pummeled onto her porch, the victim begging her to let her inside. Janet locked her door (as she should have) and didn’t let the girl come in, shocked by what was happening.
At this point, Gabe was desperately trying to call 911 but couldn’t get ahold of the police (turns out our whole neighborhood had been calling them) and as I stood there and watched, waiting to see if it would turn physically violent, I felt my body begin to prepare and process the risk of stepping into such a chaotic situation. And then, they started to attack her….7 or 8 people on one…and with just my socks on, I ran out the door at top speed screaming as loud as I possibly could (to try to intimidate them) to get the “f” out of there. My adrenaline was pumping, I was ready to fight or be fought…I didn’t really care; I just knew that I wasn’t going to watch them possibly severely injure another person. I climbed over the gate, onto the porch and started pushing them off of her (although I wasn’t sure which person was getting attacked at that point) and yelling at them to get the “f” out of our neighborhood because the cops were coming NOW (I was praying they were anyway…lol). No one made eye contact with me, but the one guy there and one or two of the girls pulled the rest of them away from the fight and they left. But I was so ANGRY. Because as soon as I got them to actually get off of her and leave, the girl who was being attacked was yelling for them to come back and fight, while they continued to yell at her as they walked down the street. After they were nearly to the end of the block, the police arrived (like so many of them…even bike cops!) and took control of the situation.
While the police handled the mob, Gabe and I, Janet, our ten year old friend, and another neighbor (Gabe knows her but this was my first time meeting her) cleaned up the broken pots, and glass and recycling, completely shocked by what had just happened.
I share this with quite a bit of intimidation, because…it was just really intense. My instinct, naturally, is to fight. But because I truly believe that Jesus taught love and the value of protecting over aggression…I chose not to fight, but to defend. These people were obviously out of control…all of them; victim included. But still, they are people and I refuse to stand by and watch someone be attacked.
I’m not brave. I’m not exceptional. I’m not a hero. I’m just a girl. A little white girl at that. But I do believe in protecting our friends, and even our enemies. That girl who was getting beat up…she’s not my friend. She never acknowledged me and she destroyed the porches of my friends. But I don’t need a thank you to do what I believe is right. I don’t need her gratification.
I can feel the imposter syndrome telling me that I’m not really who I am…discrediting my story. But it happened and this is who I am. I WILL stand up in the face of danger, in the face of possible death, with KINDNESS but authority, because I know that fighting for what is GOOD and honorable is powerful. I know that Jesus would never let someone be attacked, enemy or otherwise.
After it was all over, I wanted to sob and laugh at the same time, but I didn’t. Because I still struggle to express those emotions physically. So instead, I comforted my daughter who had witnessed everything from the upstairs window and thought her mom was going to be hurt. I comforted this girl who, when we came back to our adopted Grandma’s house (her home is attached to ours) and she lost sight of us, thought we were gone. I reminded her that she and her brothers safety is my top priority, BUT the safety of other’s is also my priority and that I hope she can take our night with a grateful heart, proud of her mom who refuses to turn a blind eye to evil.
I will continue to fight…but not with aggression. I will fight with kindness and love and I will allow Jesus to be in control of my actions; not my flesh. I refuse to be a part of a toxic call-out culture (people who “fight” for good using evil/hateful methods) and I hope that you can refuse to be a part of that culture as well. We are not put on this earth to injure, manipulate, or hurt others. We are here to love, to protect, and to SERVE, even if it is a risk to ourselves (albeit being wise and not foolishly brave).
Above all else, choose love. Allow your anger to be righteous. Defend, but don’t attack.