Posts Tagged ‘location

04
Mar
22

Who… not WHERE

Where matters. I think we can all agree on that, can’t we?

But HOW MUCH does it – or should it – matter? That question might provoke some lively banter among us.

By WHERE, of course, I am talking about the place you call HOME. The place where you enter, breathe a sigh of relief, relax, kick off your shoes, and whisper, “Made it!” as you hang your keys on the hook.

Growing up, I believed nothing was more important than WHERE. My hometown (Hilliard, Ohio, incidentally. Go Wildcats!) was where my roots grew. It was where my identity was shaped. It was the place my friends and family – most of them, at least – lived. It was the place I knew like the back of my hand. It was unthinkable that I might go anyplace else and live. 

Unthinkable, that is, until the summer of 1969 when my father announced he had taken a pastoral appointment in Lynnwood, Washington… a suburb of Seattle. And since my siblings and I were too young to break away and forge out on our own, it meant we were moving too.

Did I mention this was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school?

I cried. I cursed. I rebelled. I hatched plans to secede. 

Ultimately, however, I moved with the family.

And since finally making that “impossible” adjustment to a new WHERE, I find I have changed my thinking significantly on the topic.

WHERE, I decided, can be anywhere. Sure, there are some places that have a warmer climate, a lower property tax rate, a more compatible political bent, a better economy, or more tourist attractions nearby. 

In the end, though, aren’t I the same ME in each of those WHEREs?

 I guess what I’m asking is, does my WHERE really have any effect on my WHO?

After 45+ years living in the Kansas City metro area, Joan and I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado. We have been here a little over two years, but honestly, I am still struggling to acclimate. I mean, yes, it is a beautiful place. There are stunning mountains less than an hour away. There are great parks and lakes and restaurants right here in town. It is a progressive (mostly) political climate. Yes, the real estate is MUCH more expensive than KC’s, but we were lucky enough to buy before it went stark raving bonkers. 

And yet, for all the amazing pluses of this place, I still have a hard time calling it HOME. 

I am going to stop my little pity party for a minute and turn the question toward YOU. What do you think about this whole question? How much does WHERE matter to you? How much influence does WHERE exert on your life?

If you are like a lot of people, WHERE matters a LOT! Perhaps even ultimately.

And so, as you consider your response to those questions, pause for a moment. Imagine that, for you, nothing matters more than WHERE. Now… think about the people of Ukraine. At least one million of them – by the most recent count – have packed up and left their beloved WHERE behind. Most leaving with nothing more than the few clothes that might fit into a backpack or small suitcase. Most leaving with ZERO guarantee that their WHERE will even be there when they can finally return.

And for many of those Ukrainian people, WHERE matters more than anything.

How well would you deal with that situation?

My brain doesn’t work well enough to process that question. 

Nor can I even come close to imagining the experience of seeing my WHERE bombed into a pile of rubble by people I thought I knew. 

At such an unnerving, heartbreaking time like this, we are all called to stop and remember that none of us are defined by our WHEREs. We are instead defined by our WHOs. As in, WHO you were created by… WHO you belong to… and WHO holds your right hand in times of trial.

When their future was dark, uncertain, and bleak, God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah and reminded them: “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13, NRSV).

Please pray for Ukraine. Please click here to donate to UNICEF and help the children of Ukraine. They are the ones paying the heaviest cost of this brutal, evil, senseless war. 

Hug your own loved ones tight and thank God for your WHERE…

… wherever it might be.

Abundant blessings;

15
May
21

Homecoming

Where is your place?

Come take a SPIN!

Whenever I discuss the important places in my life, I usually list four: 

  • Columbus, Ohio – the place where I was born.
  • Seattle, Washington – the place to which our family moved in 1969 (and still the region where my four siblings and stepmom live)
  • Kansas City, MO metro area – the place I lived for 44 years, and
  • Fort Collins, CO – the place I live right now.

The fact of the matter is, I sat down the other day and made a list of every house I have lived in since infancy and came up with the staggering total of 27. 

27!

That means I have only lived – on average – 2.55 years in each of those places. 

Doesn’t that make me sound like a restless vagabond, constantly in search of that elusive IDEAL PLACE? I certainly think so.

And it kind of begs the question: “Is there such a thing as The Ideal Place?” 

In my life I have known people who believe in the existence of The Ideal Place and are engaged in a restless, lifelong search for it. 

They want the Ideal Climate

They want the Ideal Topography and Geography

They want the Ideal Quantity (and Quality) of Cultural Amenities

They want the Ideal Cost of Living.

They want a place with the Ideal Reputation.

And of course, they want to make sure this Ideal Place is populated by the Ideal Type of Person. You know… the type that is friendly, but not too friendly. Diverse, but not too diverse. Educated, but not too educated. And so on…

The sad outcome of this quest is that each place they live in somehow falls short on one or more of these critical criteria. 

And so, convinced that the next stop will be the answer, they pack up and move there… and start the process all over again.

I have to say, with the notable exception of the seedy place in Tacoma where Jeff, Marcus, and I lived, and probably my one-bedroom apartment on McGee Street in Kansas City, I have really LOVED every one of the 27 different places I have lived. 

Some I chose willingly, while other places were forced on me by the circumstance. But in every case, I knew it was not going to be the WHERE that made the difference… it was going to be the WHAT, as in “What kind of person are you going to be here in this new environment?” 

Because, as Buckaroo Banzai said in the 1984 cult classic film, “No matter where you go, there you are!” 

The truth is, God sees us – and KNOWS us – wherever we are. God knows us inside and out, whether we’re wearing the plaid flannel of Colorado, the flip-flops of Miami Beach, or the grungy, torn blue jeans of Seattle. As the psalmist once said, “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance…” (Psalm 139:15-16, NRSV).

The scene can change, but unless we change too, we will find ourselves facing the same problems all over again in the next place we go. 

Today I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is a nice, friendly, attractive, stimulating place with awesome vistas and lots of indoor and outdoor stuff to do. And yet, despite all its sterling qualities, I REALLY still miss the people and places of the Kansas City area. 

But you know what? I’ve made up my mind that here, with God and the love of my life by my side, is where I am going to call HOME

Abundant blessings;




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