If anyone knows me well, they know I am prone to long rambles along the highways around LLB. Not exactly the safest route, I've been told, but still… no better view of the town at sunset, in starlight or moonlight, or during the afternoon sun as me on the open highway. Anyone who knows me well will also know that I will do almost whatever it takes to get the best view of… anywhere… anything. To really, truly experience a place — a sense of being — you have to go straight to the edge of all things… a look down… look across… look out… look in…
After convincing myself that God really wanted me in "The Inner-City of Somewhere Else", I was relieved to be ditching this place. I was done with…. (insert list here of all things I perceived to be wrong, broken, frustrating, and blocked). But then God happened.
He happens at the most inconvenient of times, I must say.
"Why are you announcing community, intentionally love where you are moving to if you have not learned to truly love the community you are in?"
Running away to the proverbial mission under the guise that I wanted to good (which I did), was only a thin veneer for dodging messy community in all its glory (which I was). In the past couple days, I've taken extremely long rambles about the trucking bypass and began to realize something: I really do love this place. I really have been given a heart for this place. What a shock! In all this beauty, scenic nature, cultural diversity, religious affiliations, here I am. In all the conflicts, family wars, gang junk, racial tension, drug & alcohol abuse, legalism, here I am.
Some have said that, despite this being my 7th year here (has a rather biblical tone, does it not?), I will never be from here. I wasn't born and raised here, thus I will never be able to call this home. Others even more transient than I have been in life marvel that I have stayed as long as I have. Well, in response to both perspectives, I go to John 1… read it just this morning:
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Call me crazy (don't worry, a lot of people have, me being one of them), but I am not of this world as the world knows itself to be. I am flesh, created in the image of God, but more than that I am not of this world. So that I am not of good ol' LLB is quite true… yet the roots I put down here are deeper than physical birth. My identity, my birth, my personhood is of another kingdom, a deeper one — a richer one that is eternal.
I was thinking all of this as Collective Soul sang out into my iPod: "So I walk up on high and I step to the edge to see the world I love. And I laugh at myself as the tears roll down, 'cause it's the world I love.
It's the world I love."
Thinking deeply as I spied the Mosque across from the bypass, as I chatted with some leisurely paced mule deer in a field, as I watched my own shadow grow longer in the afternoon winter sun, as every 18-wheeler passed me, as I passed churches, forests, barns, trailer courts, gas stations, suburbs… everywhere…
Some days I want to pull out my hair over the petty squabbles… other days there is deep sorrow for the injustices we have inflicted upon one another… other days I am awed at the beauty of the cultures who have found their way here, in whatever manner… and still on other days, I sometimes think I would pay a million bucks just for someone to take me to the Sir Francis Winspear Centre for Music in Edmonton so I could get a breath of wondrous classical music because I just can't take another second of another twangy country voice anymore.
So here I am… Coming Home.
Here's Collective Soul's "The World I Know" - http://youtu.be/n7TLTjqUyog