Wednesday, September 30, 2009
So where this goes, I'm not too sure. I want to write more about these issues as part of everyday life in this blog. Being practical is very important to me. When I examine an issue, I try to look for root causes, ideal solutions, and practical steps toward these solutions.
A little more about me and my present situation: I'm married to the most wonderful woman (Em), I live in the Logan Square neighborhood, and I work as an analyst in Chicago. As recent arrivals to Logan Square, Emily and I are trying to live "intentionally" in this economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood. We're doing this because we think it's right to respect the neighbors who have lived here for a long time and for the people who are long-term residents to be the beneficiaries of more recent economic activity (i.e. "development"). We do NOT want to "use" the city; we want to give to the city, and work for the city. I think we have a lot to improve upon, but I like how we attend church in the neighborhood, shop at local businesses, and know some residents.
One of the questions that I think about when passing through different neighborhoods, especially lower-income neighborhoods, is: how does a city foster economic growth in neglected neighborhoods that benefits the long-term residents of that neighborhood? It's not right that development in Chicago often means the pricing out of long-term residents and domination by newer arrivals with more economic resources. I'm searching for a picture of what development should mean; and although that will likely look different according to the context, I'd love to hear any thoughts or resources on non-destructive development (if that is even possible).
Well, I did use a few quote marks, but whatevs. I'm just following my heart!
Today Mark and I biked 6 miles to our respective workplaces. I know, hard core. We're totally 'that couple' that bikes together. And I feel pretty good about it. Normally my work commute entails walking 10 minutes, taking the El, then hopping onto a bus. I actually really enjoy public transportation, partly because I feel a bizarre sense of solidarity with the other 40 people squished up around me, all of us on a journey to or from something. It's one of the few times that people of every different background is forced to intermix. Sharing these moments with complete strangers encourages me to look beyond myself and remember that I'm just part of a greater story. While waiting for the bus in freezing temperatures, it is all too clear that I am not in control of my life. "Where is the (insert choice word here) bus?" But don't we need to be reminded that we're not the center of the universe AND we're not even in control of that universe? So, long story short, I love public transportation.
But biking, now that's a different story! Biking gives me a sense of autonomy and control! I can weave in and out of traffic, sometimes we're able to beat cars down a street, I can ride on sidewalks like a pedestrian, use the left turn lane like a car, and I have a kickstand like a bicycle! It's incredible. But for some reason, when I'm biking, I find myself more inclined to pray. Perhaps it's because I"m fighting for survival in commuters traffic- 'Dear Lord, please help my brakes work,' But I also find time to reflect on the 'journey of life'. My heart is a bit more tender to God's gentle nudging. And honestly, I need more times like that in my life. More times where I'm in the position to respond to what God is doing in the world. So I will continue to bike. As long as the weather allows....
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It is a blustery day in Chicago. It seems that Chicago decided to skip Fall and jump straight into Winter. Let me say- poor decision Chicago, poor decision. I think I can speak for the masses when I say that Chicago winters are horrible and demoralizing. My hatred for Chicago winters can be very intense. When I'm ranting and raving about the cold, it's pretty hard for me to separate Chicago from its atrocious winters. In my irrational mind: Chicago has cold winters + winters suck= Chicago sucks. Now, as a self-proclaimed 'lover of all things urban', I realize that I'm not supposed to say that. I'm supposed to love the city for what it is, feel a sense of solidarity with other cold people in the city, etc...
So I"m working on a change of heart this winter because 1. my 'urban conscience' is convicting me and 2. I'd like to be a pleasant wife this winter- I don't want to be that girl that always complains about the weather. Everyone hates that girl.
In thinking about practical ways to motivate this change of heart, I've made the conscious decision to become a tea-person. Although I'm a coffee person through and through, I really like the idea of tea. It's healthier, tea-people are usually pretty cool, tea is more hippy/green, and drinking tea sparks my imagination about ancient herbal remedies. So endeavor number one- find the right tea and learn to make it. Endeavor two- develop a deep love for tea. I think this is a step in the right direction. This winter, with tea in my hand, I hope to take my eyes off of my cold self, and authentically care about the other cold people around me. Well, I guess tea can't completely take away my self-involvement, but it might help! We shall see...
Monday, September 28, 2009
So, enough insecurities, let's just admit it- we've started a blog.
We will just learn as we go along here I guess. But we want to officially welcome you to our blog! We hope to share a bit about life occurances, kitchen experiments, and our stream-of-conscious reflections.
Cheers to the journey! Please join us!