A burglary in Glenville reverberates in unexpected ways: Phillip Morris

January 27, 2019

A burglary in Glenville reverberates in unexpected ways: Phillip Morris

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A thief broke into the Glenville home of Yvonne Pointer Thursday morning.

The burglar struck after Pointer, a noted anti-violence activist and gifted inspirational speaker, stepped out to run errands. It was a sloppy ransacking. The burglar rummaged through closets and drawers, tossing unwanted stuff in his wake. He took her iPad, the device Pointer uses daily to livestream an online prayer and chat room. He left his mark with the wet and muddy shoes he wore as he took personal inventory of her house.

I reached Pointer by phone Friday. She spoke over the din of a worker replacing a door destroyed during the break-in.

“I’m convinced that some good will come out of this. Burglaries happen in Cleveland every day. The fact that it happened to me and is attracting a bit of media attention may wake people up to the fact that we all must become neighborly again. We have to look out for one another,” she said.

“No one has the luxury of sitting in their homes and pretending they live in isolation. For good or for bad, we’re in this journey together.”

Pointer, 64, is what one might call a relentless optimist. Her ability to exude grace and to extract profound life lessons in the face of extraordinary trauma is well-documented. After all, she traveled to an Ohio prison in 2015 to pray and talk with Hernandez Warren, the Cleveland man who raped and murdered her young daughter Gloria in 1984.

“I had to talk to the man who took my daughter’s life. I forgave him, but I still needed to understand the mindset that would allow a man to inflict that type of violence upon a child,” Pointer recalled Friday morning.

“I asked him, wouldn’t he rather be remembered as the man who helped Yvonne Pointer save other children rather than the man who assaulted and killed her daughter.”

Needless to say, the uncommon grace of Yvonne Pointer is something to behold and study. Still, a burglary creates a numbing sense of violation for any victim. I’ll never forget the lasting trauma my mother experienced when she walked in on a burglary in progress. She began having trouble sleeping and could not stand being alone in the house. Within weeks, my parents moved our family to a different part of town.

Pointer said she has no intention of leaving her Cleveland home. She said she is finding tremendous encouragement in the outpouring of community support she has received since news of the burglary went public. Still, she admitted that she will continue to grapple with the trauma that any home invasion inevitably produces.

Pointer said she was especially saddened when she saw that the thief had entered her prayer room – a room that she calls Hope Haven – with their wet shoes. Guest are always asked to remove their shoes before they enter the room. It’s the room in Pointer’s house from which she has streamed a live broadcast on Facebook each evening since 2016. She calls her Facebook program Hope Haven, a place for prayer, worship and dialogue about important cultural and moral issues. Several hundred people from around the nation routinely sign in to hear her broadcasts and interviews with guests.

Managing turbulence has been a recent topic. After an international trip in November, during which her flight experienced fairly severe turbulence, Pointer said she began to reflect deeply on the turbulence of daily living. Now that a fresh batch of turbulence has literally blown through her door, what will she share with her audience?

“The conversation I like to advance is always one about keeping faith and not losing hope, no matter how dire your situation.

“Life is full of trauma and turbulence. But you can’t stop moving or improving because you face adversity. You break through turbulence by continuing to move through the turbulence,” she said.

A town cannot have enough great neighbors. Fortunately, Cleveland has one in Yvonne Pointer. Now, if only she’d consider getting a German Shepherd. She could name him Hope.

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