Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pitbulls and Preschoolers

These are just a couple of shots of Kael at Boys Road. He seems to attract the resident pit bulls and pit bull crosses. Thanks to Koos and Delaena's guitar teacher, Conor for the shot of Harlem, the red pit bull at the bottom of this post. I stole it off his Facebook page. Conor named the picture, "Lion and the Lamb". Kael's response was, "I'm the lion, right?" Conor has recently added a fun new dimension to Boys Road by bringing his guitar down there for "Live Music"- as Brooke drew in sidewalk chalk in front of him today. He is super patient and lets Delaena and any other kids who want to; sing and play along with him. We've loved it!

Harlem has been a regular at Boys Road since New Life started going down there. He is single-pawdly responsible for us keeping really good track of all the basketballs, footballs, any kind of toy balls at all - while we are playing at the park. If there is a ball left unsupervised on Boys Road, Harlem will make short work of it. No kidding, it has become something of a well executed Boys Road strategic drill now. Someone will see him sauntering down the road and the cry goes out. "HARLEM'S COMING!!" All activity ceases and everyone scrambles to find any loose balls laying around and get them to the trailer. If we are unsuccessful, there will be a group groan of defeat, "Ahhh, Harlem." But with the defeat, there are always a few giggles. Score one for Harlem. Some days he can be distracted by a well thrown tennis ball or cookie, but most days, the poor, unfortunate ball gets demolished. We used to tie him to the fence with a skipping rope, but then he figured out how to snap those, so we went for the heavy duty chain. Today was a good day, he had a collar on. Usually we just have to wrap the chain right around that big 'ol neck of his.

The black pit bull cross interrupting Kael during his attempt to lead worship songs, is Roscoe. Roscoe was a recent addition to the fun at Boys Road, but unfortunately Harlem decided Kidzone was his and we had an exciting afternoon of dog fights at the park a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, Troy, one of the dads who lives close to the park, got them apart before Roscoe got too badly hurt. Roscoe didn't give up easily though, Boys Road is some serious fun, and he wanted in on it. Harlem chased him off and Roscoe came back for three rounds before he finally gave up. We only see Roscoe sitting and watching from the street now.

Oats has had all her shots, so she's been out of the truck at Boys Road a couple of times. All the really little kids who live in the area love walking her around. They can't believe a dog exists that they can't actually ride on. It is fun to be the 'big human' and the one in charge of the beast. Oats could easily be a squeaky toy for Harlem. I have an image forever burned in my memory. The first day Oats was out of the truck and the call went out "HARLEM'S COMING!" Everyone scrambles for the balls and I think at the same instant, our good friend Mark and I thought of Oats. I was too far away and Harlem had seen her but Mark was racing at mach speed across the asphalt, towards Oats and whomever was walking her. Like something out of superhero movie, Mark dashed between the dogs, swooped Oats off the ground and safely into his arms. He was so fast that neither child nor chug had the chance to figure out what was going on. He introduced Oats to Harlem from that vantage point and all was well. It was awesome.

Every time Harlem strolls over to hang out at Kidzone, or Roscoe watches from afar or Oats gets drug around the playground, I can't help but think of the Psalm: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (150:6)

There was a lot to praise the Lord about today on Boys Road. A little girl who has a few times just sobbed inexplicably and uncontrollably was laughing hysterically on a swing. An elder who used to hate the church can't wait until next Sunday to go back. A four year old learned how to skip. Dino got so cozy comfy on Mackensey's knee he just fell asleep. Calahn kept 'accidentally' getting burrs the size of grapes stuck to her jacket. A little boy who used to eat as much as he possibly could while we were there, in case he didn't get any more for a while, wanted to share his last carrot with Brooke.

As we were packing up today, the gentle drizzle stopped and the sun shone for a brief moment as if the Creator just couldn't contain a smile.

It felt deep in my spirit, like our world and the Kingdom of Heaven collided today and the Kingdom reigned supreme. Darkness didn't stand a chance. It was like it should be, where the lion will lay down with the lamb and the preschooler can praise with the pitbulls.

And I just found some of those other moments captured by Pastor Shane!

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