Well, it happened again. We had just met with some folks who are on the inside of the goings-on in the socio-political world around us, folks with all the stats of deaths, murders, abductions and the like. And, well…it affected me. I or “it” allowed that old “friend” of mine to creep in once again—that friend named “fear.”
For a few nights, I did not sleep really well. My mind was too busy spinning and whirling around the possible scenarios of life. I began plotting and planning how to escape this city and this life. I began to see the city as dark, grey, cold. I imagined myself the primary target of every narco…the expendable foreigner who could be easily taken advantage of by any sold-out cop.
Indeed, the stats are somewhat unsettling at first glance. In Monterrey reside some 80,000 US citizens. Statistics indicate that two (2) Americans a week suffer some sort of crime—murder, abduction, robbery, extortion, etc. Yikes…two a week? At first, this set me thinking that ‘tomorrow’ could be my day! But, then, this morning, I did a little math in my head:
2 hits a week…means 104 hits a year…and with 80,000 Americans, it’ll take 769 years to go through everyone! Since my last name begins with “H”, I figure I’m safe for probably 150-200 years! Of course, the criminals aren’t taking things alphabetically, but, still, I guess it’s just not that likely (probable) that I’ll be targeted and hit. That is something to be happy about!
The other thing that happened came about today as I was walking from the Seminary to the bus-stop. I realized that I have been focusing on the “what if…” a whole lot more than I’ve been focusing on the “what is.” What if…? What if…? Oh, anyone with half an active imagination can arrive anywhere on the “what if” train. What if I’m caught in a shoot-out? What if some group does target me for crime? What if…. And the list of “what ifs” can go on and on and on….
What is? I live in a large, metropolitan, international city of some 5,000,000+ inhabitants. I have a wife who loves me and so graciously puts up with me! I have work--I teach English and Theology to folks who are generally interested in learning what I have to say. Our city has a good mass-transit system that allows me to get around the city without a car. I have friends here—Juan, Adil, and others. My family is happy here…my children are happy here. I have a faith that strengthens me and even guides me. We have a roof, we have food, we have all we need. We have dreams and possibilities before us. We have plans and hopes. What is…is good.
I think I’ll shelve the “what if” file for a while and keep that “what is” folder open before me….