As I walked through my neighbourhood this afternoon, autumn leaves blanketed my path like a yellow brick road, leading me onwards. The river ran beside me, trees overhead, families all around. I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the chance to live in the most beautiful place on earth.
At church today, we talked about what it means to move into the neighbourhood, as Eugene Peterson notes that Jesus did through the Incarnation. We looked at Jeremiah 29, where urban exiles are encouraged to settle down, plant gardens, raise families, and stop living with one suitcase packed and waiting by the door. It was a wake-up call for me to unpack.
When I returned to Calgary from Vancouver, mid-degree, leaving a job I loved, I wasn't sure why. I felt called to return - but I didn't have a clear path laid out before me. I didn't have a job lined up or a place to live. It seemed foolishness to leave Vancouver. If I wanted to settle into a small community church, it didn't have to be Awaken in Calgary - there were plenty just like Awaken in Vancouver. Come to think of it, there were plenty all over the world. I'd heard about great ones from Boston to Brisbane. I could visit each of them - learning something new each time. The temptation was - and is - strong. I love to travel, but I've been doing so much of it that I've forgotten what it's like to lay down roots.
I'd paved over the roots across my path with the hope that with each new location, I'd find the Emerald City. Despite not having found it yet, despite my yearning to stay in Vancouver, I returned on sheer faith to Calgary, not knowing why, but knowing that if I didn't follow my gut, I'd regret it. Even after arriving, I've been having a hard time finding my way. Things aren't always the way I want them to be, I don't have a white picket fence, and I get lonely sometimes. My home isn't perfect yet - but one day, when the Creator moves in, it will be. I have glimpses of that already.
This afternoon, as I followed my yellow brick road, I looked up and realized that the golden leaves blanketed the ground all the way back to my house. I have grown to love where I am - where I have friends who are family. I've been to many beautiful places in my life - and I have no doubt there are many more in the world. But none of them are as beautiful as Bowness is to me.