Shuttling between jobs tonight through this darkened neighborhood where something more is always going on, I came upon a man standing still and quiet, his head bowed low. A Puerto Rican church woman was standing in front of him in her long skirt and modest braid with one hand raised in the air and the other firmly on his shoulder. She was praying for him. He was receiving it. He seemed to need it. Half a block further I turned the corner into darkness, and the dealers were there on their corner trying to flag me down. I knew the humble man would have to walk this way. I imagined that somehow she had given him some protection, some resolve, some spiritual armour that would shield him from these men and this corner and this darkness above, below and beyond.
It's frightening to know that as you walk through this dark place, a lion matches your steps. When she wants you, she will take you. When she doesn't, I try to think of it as grace.