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And This Is How It Goes Sometimes

Posted by Elwin Green on May 11, 2014 at 1:15 PM

So I attended the meeting Wednesday night about forming a consensus group in Homewood and my thinking about what to write about it was hampered, was hindered, by a preoccupation with the fact that the Thursday before I had an episode of really bad chest pain, and I was mostly thinking, "What if I die soon?" 

So the day after the meeting about forming a consensus group in Homewood, I went to the ER and they kept me in the hospital overnight and ran tests and the results of the test told them that whatever had happened, it wasn't a heart attack and I was ok to go home and I went home Friday afternoon and mostly slept.

And what I had meant to do was write about the meeting about forming a consensus group in Homewood, and then write about the United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh hosting their series of events at the library to encourage reading and especially our men reading to our children because we need to read, we need to read, our children need to set sail on the frigates called books to explore every land ever written about.

But I mostly slept after getting home Friday, then had a long, and I mean long, conversation about community development, which was not in my plan and it now became background for when I write about the meeting about forming a consensus group in Homewood. But hold on

I haven't mentioned yet that while I was in the hospital I had another long conversation about community development that was not in my plan, and this is what is happening now, for some reason people are talking to me but not to be quoted and why should they want to tell me anything not to be quoted if the only power I have is in essence the power to quote?

But now the conversation while I was in the hospital is also background for when I write about the meeting about forming a consensus group in Homewood. And meanwhile I wrote about Vanessa German's Indiegogo campaign to expand the ARThouse, and then found out that the campaign has been extended through May 13 and on Saturday morning was trying to figure out how to do the update on that story that would let people know that they still have time to give.

I was thinking about updating the ARThouse fundraising campaign story on Saturday morning while working with some of the men from Baptist Temple Church to clean some vacant lots and front yards of vacant houses, and thinking also about the meeting about forming a consensus group in Homewood and about the United Black Book Clubs reading events when my wife called to say that my brother had called to say that our mom had taken a turn for the worse and that I should come down to Louisville.

And my wife and I began packing and then we got on the road and got here in Louisville around 2 am and I fell asleep and it was nearly noon when I woke up and went on Facebook and saw Vanessa German's post about a man being shot dead and his body lying on the street in front of the ARThouse and now all the meetings in Homewood that do not relate to that seem stupid.

That is NOT to say that they should be about that. It is to say that they should relate to that.

We are, as Lucille Prater-Holiday said, a decision-making community. And our decisions may involve politics, but they are not about politics. They are about life and death, and the question of whether the quality of life that we create with our decisions lead to more life or to more death. And I have not said this here...

I was interviewed by Pittsburgh Magazine for their June issue. I say that here now because I think they will use a quote from me about striving to be accurate and fair but not even trying to be objective and this is part of what I meant, how can I pretend to be objective when the ARThouse campaign has been extended and a man is shot dead in front of the ARThouse and I am in Louisville and I wish I were on Hamilton Avenue right now to give Vanessa and the ARThouse children hugs all day long?

I am in Louisville to visit my mother and I tell you I wish I were there, because I know Vanessa German. That is what relationship does, my friends - it calls you out of your normal, it makes you want you to be with, and it makes the news, not something you see on TV and shake your head at or read about and cluck your tongue over, it makes the news something that makes you want to be there.

And when our decisions are about life and death, and when our decisions grow life or death, how can any of us have time for anything other than the deepest love we can find to give? How can we have time to ever view one another with anything other than honor and the desire to honor the glory of each one's humanity?

(This comes from a man who believes that humans are immortal, that every person will still be young five million years from now. If you disagree, feel free to disregard, but you are entitled to know of this bias that says that every human is a glorious being.)   

And it's Mother's Day and churches across Homewood, be sure of this, honored mothers today and they should and I wonder how many, if any, responded and how to the fact that this morning some mother lost her son and how many faced the question, how many other mothers' children were damaged this Mother's Day morning?

God protect the children from the TV cameras today.


Normally, this is where I ask you to donate to Homewood Nation. Today I say, please help to grow life in Homewood by contributing to ARThouse - right now, while you're thinking about it. Thank you!

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Reply Nancy Shields
4:35 PM on May 12, 2014 
First of all, I hope that your mother is doing okay and that you are as well. Thank you for this rather brilliant piece to cut through to what matters most.
Reply Denise Johnson
10:38 PM on May 12, 2014 
Ditto what Nancy Shields said.
Reply Elwin Green
8:16 AM on May 13, 2014 
Thank you both. This was not the first time that our family said, "Come down." But now she's not eating, and today we are having the nursing home send her back so that she can die in her own bedroom. She's 94, and has loved Jesus a long time, so this is more triumph than tragedy.

And I've scheduled a followup visit with my own PCP.