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Springtime blues

Pastor Michael Walrond Jr | 3/22/2012, 4:07 p.m.
Pastor Michael Walrond Jr.

The early signs of summer's dawn are evidenced by the unseasonable and unusually warm weather we have recently been experiencing.

Children at play fill the streets with desires of losing themselves in the prolonged presence of the sun and carry secret hopes of chasing daylight. The water vendors are beginning to think of prime locations where their presence and libations will appear like an oasis in the desert for those who battle heat and thirst.

The parks are preparing for the arrival of those seeking to kill time during the hazy days of summer, and street corners beckon the organic intellectuals and street philosophers, whose survival strategies have deepened their insights.

These warm days of spring have a way of reminding us that new life is a day away from being born and, truthfully, our souls stand on tiptoe waiting to behold the new birth.

Spring is a season filled with images coming alive. This is probably why so many people infuse this season with so many living colors, harboring hopes of mimicking the multihued landscape that we experience but do not create.

Springtime is beautiful, and the fragrances of hope and life fill the air, heightening the awareness of breathing, but there is an element that these warm spring days bring that is an early warning of the heat that will permeate parts of this city, for the hope of spring arrives accompanied by the fear of a violent summer.

There have already been senseless acts of violence in the streets, and the sounds of gunshots are filling the air in the daytime. I pastor in a neighborhood that has seen an increase in shootings, and residents in the area are fearful of the violence that summer may bring.

In many communities that are already hotbeds of violence, the warm weather of spring is a despairing alarm for the pain and chaos that may come when spring fades into summer.

When school is over and our young people fill the streets and the simmering angst of limited opportunities comes to a boil, what will the summer hold? How many people will lose hope and life this summer? How many people will be victims of intentional acts of violence this summer?

What will happen to the young people who have no escape and must navigate their way around forbidden boundaries this summer? How many parents will suffer their worst nightmare this summer?

Some may feel as though these questions are steeped in pessimism, but these questions arise from the well of lived experiences of various people in communities all around this city. I am not a pessimistic nihilist whose musings are filled with doom and gloom. I am an optimistic realist--one who is honest about painful realities but hopeful for transformation.

I believe that things can change, but I know that change won't come by theorizing; change will come when we act, with courage, to confront that which confounds us.

This is a fragile season. Spring is upon us, summer is on the horizon and winter is a fall away.