Inhabitants of this city talk a lot about this place - it can often consume the conversations. It can seem at moments VERY self involved. And for someone who is inclined to judgement I have viewed the talk as such for a while now - growing sick and disgusted by the world within a world mentality and the conversation’s particular bends.
But the truth is to make it here you have to be fully invested here - which is its own unique challenge to do. And the simple truth is we’re all still figuring that out - we are all gathering our bearings and trying to remain in the game and we all need to talk about it. And that’s healthy and that’s okay.
I have said in my heart lately that we are all fools - trying to do what we are doing here - trying to make it here. Defeated if I am honest. Wondering how on earth can one establish something sustainable in a city that is not sustainable for living long term and at the growing price point!
But personally - and honestly the decision to stay or to come here was never up to me - it was a calling - just like to do what I am doing in architecture here. And although I am momentarily defeated and often can’t feel it - there’s still a fight within me to remain even though every inclination of my mind and the logic and knowledge I have become so intimately acquainted with tells me its foolish to do so.
And perhaps in this there is a moment that we are all called to - to surrender our wills agendas and plans and ways of seeing things and simply say that what we do is only empowered by the Spirit of God who comforts and sustains. Who broods over the dark waters of this city waiting to give creation and light to it and meet it where its at with the message of Jesus.
I guess as so It’s fitting then that at first light I often talk with my friend about such things- early morning half awake conversations about lifestyle / standards of living and what exactly it looks like for our futures under God’s will and way in this place. Because there He meets us trying to give strength to the feeble in combat with a brother combat to the american ideals and idols that have inserted themselves into this place but do not belong in its context - saying that we should have whatever we want with the insane capitalist notions that we have brought in with us to this city.
I read acts 17 this week. I read of paul’s heart stirred in Athens with no one beside him - I see my own heart. I read his address - his bold address. And then I see him leave sooner than other places. I wonder how intoxicating - how blinding are these things our city does just like Athens. I wonder how few will come and be brought into the house of God. The city of light.
I reflect on my own heart. My own notions of success and failure in a place this this. My own lack of ability to speak to those inside and outside that light and I feel it in my heart just like Paul. But instead of the bold address I stand speechless with more hurt and confusion because unlike Paul God says stay.
I read recently of the white man’s bend toward colonization. I see it in movies. I see it in those whom I grew up with and stand alongside. I see it within myself. And I’m trying to be very careful that that colonization mindset does not insert itself into God’s saving redeeming power and is not corrupted somehow by my own sin. But I see it is- and I wonder about my ambition about my giftings and what that means about how I fit in and how I am still gathering my bearings and I question is it my own sin nature and delusions of grandeur and I get stuck.
And If I am truthful I tell you that my heart has never been more unsure about any of the many questions I’m asking and what exactly I am supposed to do with them besides remain and be faithful to what is put before me. And although at moments the conversations are word vomit and the conversation may bend toward what Elise calls “the two year itch” - concerned I may be a little more self destructive than most know - its not.This is different - a different type of undoing because of these bends the Father crafted into my mind. More subtle and more magnificent than just a move - like when I change the floor plan to give the client a new way of looking at their space. A better way.
Many say that journaling helps. It has. I’ve written more than I have in a long long time this winter- giving voice to ones thoughts is therapeutic and healing. Because somehow although I feel alone in my awareness of reality - defeated at moments when I journal I feel I am not alone - because God is in them. I see Him. He’s there.
There are particular bends to my personality that need dark rooms and time in quiet and by myself to understand the twists and turns. Often God is there. The not often when I don’t choose to see Him.
When it’s hard to get your bearings you begin to hate the questions that gave you the context to answer the questions in the first place - When I’m alone and catch that breath which is fewer and far between as I grow older it helps - coming to this page now filled with words it helps. Because there is space for me to speak - time for the moments and thoughts in between - because at many moments I really don’t know how I am. And that’s the truth for a long while now- but its okay cause it means I have a longer plan in “The Man” in motion.
And in all this I realize I am young still developing my bearings and still have many years to go and growth in discerning the Spirits promptings and views. I am not in a bad place. I am actively choosing not to belive lies and give into self consumed pits of pity and despair - the direction is upwards in what i put my mind heart and will to.
And I don’t think my life is solely about the money. Which may come off as a strange insertion here but I worry about that in a place like this. In a city of many idols. And I don’t think its about a lot of the other things that would give reason for concern.
This city can wear on you. Especially with the forces at work upon it. God is still faithful. That much will never change. But we still feel - whether that be the hurt or whether we still feel the pain and we watch helplessly from the sidelines because we don’t know how to engage it. At least I do. But we are stepping into His power and where the Spirit is and in that there is still much reason to hope…we will find our bearings and our contexts.