Ever since I first started this blog, I've been wanting to write about some my past experiences while living in Oak Park. It has been hard to think which story to tell first, but I'm going to go with the story of Ron and Anita.
Ron and Anita were some neighbors that lived right across the street from us. This was when we lived on 2nd Ave a few blocks from where we live now. The house they and their kids lived in was a chopped-up remodel mess. It was a rental and it always seemed to be rented out to bad people. One time a woman and her kids rented it and, after a few days, I never saw them again. It had been taken over by drug dealers and all kinds of crazy.
Thankfully, Ron and Anita were good people. They had 5 children who were 12 and under. I think they had a blended family and the children that Ron was responsible for were named Ronnie, Ronnell, and Ronita. Quite George Foreman-esque.
This family had come from South Sacramento and were hoping for a better situation on our street. Ron had some pretty wild friends. It was clear that they had been through tough times and had experienced a tough life. Many times on the weekends his friends would come over and they'd party. We'd always say "Hi" and be neighborly. I remember when we stopped by and it was a warm summer day. Victor said to Ron and his friends "Are you having a good time hanging-out today?" Ron right away said "Vic, 'hanging-out' means that you have nothing to do and you are looking for trouble. We are 'socializing'."
A night came when Ron and Anita's big front window was shot-out by someone driving by! No one was hurt, thankfully, but it was scary. One of Ron's friends came over the next day. I wish I could remember his name because it was a tough-guy name for sure. He had, somewhere in his past, been hurt in the throat and his voice was very gravelly and deep. Anyways, this friend was into some dangerous stuff. He asked Ron if he wanted anything-anything at all. "Do you want a machine-gun?" (Ron was telling us this later and we had such a heart-stopping moment until...) Ron said "No! I DO NOT want a machine-gun. I have kids in my house!" (Whew)
Tough Guy liked Victor and once said to him "If you ever need an army, for any reason at all, I got one for you." Victor answered him "Thanks, my friend, you know I have an army-a heavenly one." TG said "I know that, but if you ever need one on earth, you call me."
I smile as I remember that...
I like how the Apostle Paul said that he tried to be 'all things to all men'.
He was able to take people as they came and share the love of God with them.
This is what the world is hungry for.