NY, FL,GA, the world………
My life is like a book with many different chapters.
My first memories are those of city sounds and lights. In Brooklyn NY every street brings it’s own history and the people have their own story. You can enter a whole new world by just walking 5 city blocks. Sections of city are reserved for different people groups. Fifth avenue was like a convergence of all cultures as this was the main strip of stores. I loved the hustle and bustle, the different smells that the city can bring as vendors have their vegetables and fruits on display outside their stores. Asian goods for sale, Spanish stores abound right next to toy stores and jewelry stores. I lived my youth enjoying the city’s infinite treasures of culture and variety. I can’t remember being afraid during the day. I should have been because drugs and gangs were all around me but somehow my eyes always caught what was beautiful and there was much that fascinated me in such a world. My backyard was close enough to the Hudson River that the Statue of Liberty was clearly seen from the back corner of our property. My minds eye remembers lots of marble in the banks that my mother worked in, huge vaults, tall buildings, cracked sidewalks, and all kinds of people. Puerto Ricans hanging clothes on cloth lines that crossed between huge buildings. A very odd site in a modern city. The city is a place where the very poor and the very rich live side by side. The homeless drunks took the same subways that the very rich rode to work on. Sirens were an everyday occurrence and so was the sound of roosters in concrete back yards. As a young girl I thought the whole world was a city and I loved the variety, spontaneity and mixture of so many cultures in so little a space. The city is a space where things were built high and not wide. In the city you always look up for there is nothing to see across from you but another building. But I remember other things too. It was not unlike a prison where you were allowed out for a certain amount of time where the sun made things seem safe, but when the sun descended, evil was let out and I remember the urgency to be home. My home consisted of more locks that I can count. Deadbolts and doors with multiple locks and combinations, when those were unlocked you came upon a new door with the same. Each major entrance had two doors with a complicated locking mechanism in which every turn of every bolt reminded me there must be a horrible danger trying to reach us everyday. The few windows that weren’t covered in twisted iron cages outside of them were windows that frightened me because intruders could enter with ease. Everyday intruders entered someone’s house and often stole and hurt the people within if they were unlucky enough to be home. I remember times when my dad would insist on being the first one inside to ensure that the rest of us were safe to enter.
The next chapter of my life took me to Fort Lauderdale Fl. The color green stood out to me for this was not a color often seen in a concrete jungle. I remember how slow people moved and how much space my eyes could take in with one sweep of my eyes. I remember feeling unsafe since doors and windows were basically bare with only one silly lock on wood and not steel. I remember feeling a little lost, if you can imagine what it feels like when a cast is removed from a healed bone or braces from teeth. I felt like I could fall off the earth with that much space between me and the world. People in stores looked me in the eyes and held conversation with me. This was not done in my previous world and I remember finding it so rude. My thoughts were “why are you talking to me and not working faster to bag my groceries”. I grew up with a sense of urgency with time. Here was a world where people did not calculate their seconds, they drifted through their hours. It felt insane to me to allow so much time to be wasted. Time and space were different for me in Florida. New scents, so much nature, so little concrete or structure. My heart mourned the beauty of architecture. I formally lived in a house that was a least 100 years old. Cobble stone streets were covered over with asphalt. Here everything was young and seems short and new, with so little character and thought. I was not impressed. I mourned the action, the people the activities. The sun was too hot and the only way to be cooled down was artificial. I think I had a cold for about two years off and on trying to readjust to the climate. These years were compensated only by the joy of my children. 3 kids in four years kept me quite busy.
Change the page and enter a new world. Seattle WA was everything this city girl craved with the added new love of nature which Florida helped me discover. An old city covered by beautiful trees. The Emerald city where I could get lost in beautiful old stores that made me feel familiar and like a little girl enjoying her magic city. We lived in a picturesque new suburb next to old farm houses nestled at the foot hills of mountains that looked like God must live in them. Both former worlds converged to make me feel safe and in awe of beauty that comes from God structures living next to man made structures. WA state is where is where my soul still lives. It’s too far from my family but it was created for a person like me. Supreme love for new and old, nature and culture, these both exist in WA side by side. We only had 5 years there but those five years healed my soul in places I didn’t know it was broken. My children were allowed to have their imaginations burst open with new delights. City and mountains were always enjoyed during our time there. My children were 4-7 in age and add five years and I can say without doubt that chapter of my life was my favorite. Our world was full of new adventures on the weekends, we were one hour from either mountains or the city and I was seconds away from a constant state of joy. My boys built forts, my daughter helped me plant gardens we found hidden lakes on top of mountains and fields of wild flowers on the side of mountains. We walked over logs that were dangerously across of waterfalls and begged God for sure footing. We lived life fully and we all as a family were like roses facing the sun. Delighting in the experience that caused us to bloom.
One more major shift in the book of my life and as we turn the page I end up in Georgia. Shock is a good way to describe my state of mind. Georgia was gratefully more beautiful that I imagined but not a wanted change. I finally got used to the experience of expanse, when your eyes can see as far as the land allows. Now I’m back to looking right and left and bumping into trees that obscure vision. Now we reverse the experience, I don’t need to feel safe, now I feel locked in. Held down, held back from full delight but there is a sense that God is up to good things so I swallow my grief and trust God to deliver in new ways. My natural eyes are not as happy as my spiritual eyes but it is time to feed the Spirit. Words cannot express the growth that we have all experienced at 12Stone and that is worth the turning of every page. Georgia has beauty tucked into corners and old towns. I love them. I delight in them. A church that means more to be that the magic of any city and I’m not far from nature or city. I find that 12Stone is like the well and the only source of water for miles. I have no need to move away from my source of life and joy. But I can travel to all the other places and return to the well.
I have a sense that my page is turning again. I am entering a new chapter where my children are grown and entering into their own adventures. Some close to home and others away but they will never be far from my love for them. I’ve journey through different cultures and radically different lifestyles. I think somehow and someway it’s time to see the rest of the world. Outside of America, to visit and learn new things in new way. I’m excited and afraid. Not afraid that it will be bad but my honest fear is that it will never be as good. How can life be as good as having my Brandon, Jordan and Julie in the center of my every adventure? Somehow I will carry them in my heart and return often to enjoy my grandbabies. Exquisite little people are what grandchildren are. Roger and I will take those little people with us as often as possible as we go on our discovery of the rest of the world as soon as they are big enough to travel. My little ones will have full passports and be world travelers as I increase their understanding of the world they live in. Hmm maybe it will be excellent after all.
Smiling at the thought of showing the pyramids to Storie one day.