Friday, November 26, 2010

In Missouri for Thanksgiving

My home for the past 3 years has been Chicago. Blocks from Michighan ave. The John Hancock greets me from my window every morning and cars fly by, the bus coming every ten minutes taking northern dwellers to the south loop, where they make enough money to afford the suits they wear, the housekeepers they have, and the brownstone they call home. I am in the middle of all this as a college student - a senior at Moody Bible Institute. The city is a beautiful and entertaining place to live. Always somewhere to go, a museum to see, a new cafe to visit, a neighborhood to shop and eat and wander around. Yet, I've vowed never to live in a brownstone. Two kids, a husband and a dog in Lincoln Park will never be me. (I hope). While, these are all wonderful things to desire, I'm not Lincoln Park. I don't think I'm downtown Chicago either. I've loved every minute of living there, and this next summer after graduation I'll be staying to experience it as a city-dweller and not a full-time student. But after that ? Ultimately, it's where God takes me. He is going to bring ministry opportunites to me, and I'll be listening to Him for where I'll go next. Even if that is staying in the city.

I'm in Missouri visiting family and I love it. Small town. Small house. Our plans for the weekend? Yesterday we did a 5K called Turkey Trax that raised money for charities. 500 people from the town attended. (A far cry from the thousands that sign up for the Chicago 5K's). It was freezing, but we huddled beneath heat lamps before and when we finished, headed for the car before they announced the winners--we weren't on the list. Today we will visit a farm of a friends', tonight my parents will go out to a local restaurant for their 30th anniversary and the rest of us will probably go bowling. Or stay home in this little house in this little town. It's perfect. Cozy. Simple.

I hail from Wisconsin. My city is very close to my heart. I could go back there and never move away. I think. I'm feeling a very strong desire to be settled. Settle and be in community. Settle and know my neighbors, be involved in a movement. But not a big city movement, a tiny, small town change. Like changing the way the elementary schools are run. Changing how people view the church in the middle of town. Supporting the food pantry and coffee shop (Singular!). There is something so lovely about going in to my grocery store back home and knowing several of the grocers' names, my mother knowing each and every face. I couldn't visit my local bank without being there for at least an hour, I couldn't go to several restuarants and stores without knowing that I'll be detained by people I know. While I see this as an inconvenience at times, I know it is a blessing. It is beautiful.

Living in the city has given me such opportunity to understand community on a large scale, but, I think, we are all meant for a "small town" community. Not that that means you must live in a small town to participate in this kind of community, I'm sure it is possible in cities, too. Harder, but possible. We are meant to know our grocers, know our neighbors, know our bankers, know the people that make our coffee. We are meant to be with our families. In small spaces, cooking together, eating together, cleaning together, living life closely. We've been sharing one bathroom, one living room, one kitchen and one TV the past few days. I wouldn't want it any other way. Need the bathroom? Be patient, learn patience. Want the couch? Sit on the floor, learn selflessness. Take turns. Want to watch your show? Sacrifice. Discuss. Watch together, or turn it off and talk together. Play a game.

The lights go off and we all go to bed; one person wakes up in the morning, and we all follow closely - because it's noisy and you wake up. It's not annoying. It's life. Why miss a minute?


Donna Boucher said...

You can live next door to me when you grow up and when you have a family!!!
I can't think of anything more cozy and simple.

Think we can arrange this?

Amy said...

Oh Emma, you make me miss home. But it is nice to see your familiar face around town. Lovely writing!

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