Recently I moved from the heart of downtown Oakland to the quiet streets of Emeryville, California. As a girl who grew up with woods in her backyard, Oakland was very different to what I’m used to when it comes to neighborhoods. Although I’ve lived in New York City (Harlem and Brooklyn), Pittsburgh, and other cities, I must admit that Oakland was the toughest place I’ve called home as of yet.
Now in Emeryville I walk around my new neighborhood and notice that people no longer yell at me like when I was in Oakland. I’m not followed walking home late at night anymore either.
It makes me feel secure. But it also makes me feel selfish.
Selfish because I feel like I’m no longer getting a glimpse of how difficult life can be. Selfish because I no longer see the hungry or homeless as I walk inside the manicured lawns of my new apartment complex.
After all, since I moved here I wonder – where did all the needy people go?
My prayer is not that I am unsafe or living in an environment that would be bad for me. Rather, my prayer is that I stay realistic about the real world – a world filled with drugs, people in need, and hope. So while I may enjoy my new apartment, roommates, and lifestyle, I somehow will work to stay in touch with what’s beyond my manicured lawns, locked doors, and gated community.
“Oh Lord, please keep my eyes and my heart open to those in need, and may I seek to help and love the neighbors who are beyond my gates.”