Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Brief Epistle to Home

Memphis, oh Memphis.

You are oppressively hot, humid, and far away from people that I love. Your roaches of extraordinary size waterbugs are beyond compare and I feel landlocked and cranky without an in-reach ocean.

But I love you. We "chose the 901" last year, and I am hooked.

I love your roads, even the ones that leave me stuck behind slow moving trains, I love your unrelenting sunshine that leaves me sweating and longing for fall. I love your unusual penchant for yielding plentiful farmer's markets and locally produced, delicious restaurant fare. I love your Botanical Garden and Zoo, splash pads and central library, thank you for these favorite daytime nooks.

I love your history. You are steeped in it. Unlike my sadly watery iced tea, you can taste the strongly brewed past that has baked deep into your brick and concrete. There is so much that I do not know about you, but I am intrigued by the hurts and hallelujahs that have made you who you are. I want to know more.

I love that I can taste my history in your avenues and byways. Everywhere I find myself, I imagine my father and grandfathers and the lives they lived within your sprawl, all a part of building you into the city you are. In farms and gas stations, stoneyards and hospitals they worked and dreamed, and with you, I feel closer to the Spinolos, Hancocks and Christies whose blood runs in my veins.

I love your "Memphians," who have become so either by birth or by choice. You are a city of many underserved, but a city of many who serve. Never have I personally experienced such strong evidence of the hand of God working in the hearts of so many, committed to being His hands and feet. They are my brothers and sisters, friends of only a few months, but already a part of my heart.

Yes, I complain about train whistles, bugs, far off distance and heat. Forgive me these gripes, for truly, I am grateful to be here. The days I have spent in your company have been some of my hardest, but also some of my richest. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, in the "Land of the Delta Blues," and I am forever thankful that I have called you Home.

Today, I am happy to be in my motherstate, hundreds of miles away, but I am homesick for the 901, and I am ready to be home.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One Year in Memphis

May 28th marked the completion of our first year in Memphis, Tennessee.

One year ago, I would have been amazed at the way life looks now. We live in a house, we have two children, we drive a van, I enjoy cooking and baking (say wha?), Ryan has a wonderful new job that looks quite different than we imagined it would, the Lord dramatically changed my heart, and we are surrounded by what feels like an entire city of fabulous new friends who have quickly become our Memphis family. Blessings have dripped down in a steady downpour, and we have been soaked through in the gracious goodness of the Lord.

Last year was hard. Some of those days felt like months, but looking back, those months feel like just days. Much of 2012 was a hard, hard fight that felt much like swimming upstream of some choppy, uncomfortable rapids. But standing soaked on the other side of those waters, with the hot summer sun beating down on us, we can see the washing of Grace, and the showers of blessing.

We walked into new spaces last summer, and the Lord said "you are home." They felt empty, unknown, hot and intimidating. Summer, fall, winter and spring came and went, and we walked out of those spaces, but we left them echoing with prayer, happy laughter, and the sounds of new life. I found that I would miss those little rooms, and that the people who had first walked through our doors as strangers had become dear to my heart. The community that we shared with that crowd of now familiar friends, was something terrifically tremendous that can't really ever be replicated in the same way. I am so deeply thankful for the mothers that raised their children with me, the wives that cried and prayed with me, the friends that sat on our chairs and filled our table and our hearts.

You all brought and bring us such joy. Thank you for making a new life with us, and for making it so full. Memphis is home now, really truly, and it is home because of yall!

Thank You, Lord, for Memphis and for our first year in our new home.