Musings / My Thoughts

Why Chicago Makes Me Cry

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Lincoln Park at 1 am.

I’m sitting in a room of strangers wanting to cry, my two week anniversary in my new city is upon me. Or us, or whatever. 

The funny things is what’s got me (unsuccessfully) fighting back tears isn’t sadness or homesickness; it’s the litany of emotions that come with the profound understanding that God has called me to where I am.

I am happy.

I am grateful. 

I am absolutely humbled and busting at the seams with thanksgiving because for the first time, in a long time, I feel like I fit.

I feel like my studies fit me. I’m in class with these brilliant, passionate people and together we are already tearing through texts trying to find meaning in words that don’t intrinsically hold value for us but may for someone else. Let me tell you, these folks are beautiful souls and I am looking forward to exploring this concept of justice with them for the next few years.

I feel like my home fits me. My apartment is lovely and so are the women I share it with. In the last two weeks we have shared laughs and stories and brownies and it’s been wonderful.

I feel like my city fits me. I’ve been both playing an urban Dora the Explorer and engaging in random conversations with strangers. I’ve been out and about like I haven’t done in forever and it feels good. Just last night, I had dinner at this Caribbean lounge (with a wicked DJ…so good) and then popped in a hookah spot with some prospective students where we talked about God and society and fear until the wee hours.

And today, there was more talking. There was talking in church as a woman named Monica spoke about God drawing near to us in journey as she sat on the floor and we gathered around.

There was talking on the bus to a girl the church prayed over – her name is Xan. We spoke about our hopes for the Church and what was good about this church and then she was the church for me in her inviting me to karaoke because she saw my need for community.

Talk ended my night when my 1 am yawns took over my voice. I inadvertently had girls’ night with my classmates. We planned to meet and speak about our goals but in the absence of our brothers we spoke of the church and mission. A prospective student and her friend joined us and the locus our conversation changed to center on broken systems and broken people.

So when I think about my last two weeks, I am broken before God because I see fruit already in this place. I feel so free and like I belong and it doesn’t matter if I’m in the company of friends or strangers. I feel free to be who I am and am so unfiltered which I think God will use to grow me more fully. I’m excited for experience and love the fact that I come and go as I feel; I’m finding joy in navigating my city at noon and 3am. I am amongst people who not only accept my rants, their hearts break in similar ways for things like youth or the homeless or our nation and situations like Ferguson.

So that’s what’s bringing tears and what has also slowed my writing – I’ve been off feeling alive for the first time in a long time.

And let me tell you, it feels good.

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