Are we finally emerging from what I think of as The Winter That Would Not Stop? As friends and colleagues head to sand, sun and warmer weather, I feel like this is a good time to contemplate where I live, and WHY.
I didn’t grow up in Fort Wayne, I have no relatives here. I never intended to make Indiana my home; I thought it would be a 2-3 year stopover on my television news career. That was 1989. My math may be dusty, but I’m pretty sure I missed that 2-3 year mark. So, as the cute little plaque in the crafts store advises, I try to bloom where I am planted. As much as I want to say, ”I’m not really from here; I’m focused on my home, three states away,” that sounds pretty lame. I ought to have some sense of responsibility and caring for this place, as this is where I am and there is no way to know if life will ever be any different. I have to stop waiting for “life” to begin, for life to change, when I move away.
During the week here at Trinity we meet a lot of people who may not be where they thought they’d be, literally, physically, spiritually or geographically. It makes one wonder, when you hear some of the stories, why not roll the dice, pick up and move, give another town a shot? I suspect some of them have danced around the same conclusion I have: that it isn’t really about where we are, it’s about who we are. Looking at who we are in this place is an intriguing question for me. Pastor Erdos often references that Trinity English is in the location God selected. Since that means we’re downtown, we think that means God must want us to be a part of this neighborhood: this community. If our charge is to be involved, then this is where it’s supposed to happen. Trinity can’t say,” Oh, hey, I know it looks like I am rooted here, but actually, I’m focused on that other place, that place in a different neighborhood.” Legitimately, our neighbors here could say, “then why are you here?”
We (Trinity) exist here to interact and to love and to connect with the people who are also here. We offer hot coffee or a quiet space or a chance to talk with someone, or a chance to listen to what God is telling you to do. We are always inviting people to join us, to learn, to grow, to meet, to connect, to know Jesus. We’re here to “do life” with the people God set us near. If we’re so intently focused on wherever the “other” place is, or where the “next” place is, we miss the beauty and the gifts of where we are, right now. We miss the chance to make a difference in the lives of these neighbors. And we miss the chance to allow them to make a difference in our lives. I’m constantly reminded how the unexpected, “Good morning,” or the kind smile from an unfamiliar face can turned someone’s day around.
We who live in Fort Wayne are hardy souls: there’s no ocean, no mountain vista, no easy, temperate climate. What we have is each other. So for as long we can, in as many ways as we can, let’s work on building connections with and for each other. Home is where you find yourself, after all. We’re each here for a reason. I’m beginning to suspect God wanted us to figure out that we are each other’s reasons.