A Surprise Non-Encounter

Yesterday started with a surprise.  As I approached the main entrance of the church, a neighbor across Broadway Place informed me that a gray SUV had just pulled up, shot something at our front door, and driven off.  She had reported it to the police.  Sure enough, the glass on the right door was shattered, with a hole at the point of impact.  A brief search on the sidewalk revealed the likely projectile – a rock the size of a small egg with nicks on one side.  Probably a slingshot.

The neighbor was kind as she lingered a bit before heading out to work.  The police were about as helpful as they could be, writing up the police report with no more to go on than what I’ve already shared.  Gwen informed insurance and Jeff called a door company.

It’s impossible to know for sure, but it seems like a targeted act rather than random.  One of my first mental reactions was surprise that something like this hasn’t happened sooner.  When Edith was living in our building, I was fully expecting vandalism. 

If targeted, it does not sit well.  It would be a tiny taste of what Black and Jewish and Muslim congregations have had to deal with for decades.

Our Lent theme is Encounters On The Way, but I was apparently about five minutes late to encounter the driver of the gray SUV.  Instead, it was a non-encounter, mixed with encountering the aftermath of their action.

Perhaps we can find some symbolism in the rock landing right between, but not eliminating, the words “Act” and “Peace.”  If this action has an equal and opposite reaction from each one of us, I wonder what several hundred slingshots for peace would look like.  In the unlikely event the culprit is found, we can ponder what restorative justice would be.

For the last few years, I’ve had a stack of smooth rocks on my desk.  I like having part of the natural world within touching distance, and the symbolism of a cairn as a way-finder.  This morning I added the projectile on top.  It was an unexpected encounter on the way.