wow. i just checked my blog for the first time in a week. i haven’t written for a while.
there’s a reason. here’s the view outside the dorm/apartment where we are staying this week:
yup. that’s the pacific ocean. and a baseball field. and 72 degrees at 3:30 in the afternoon. look…somebody has to do this job.
for the uninformed, i am on the campus of point loma nazarene college, just west of downtown san diego. i am the “campus pastor” for a weeklong high school youth conference. i am here teaching, counseling, and encouraging the youth pastors and leaders…as they teach, counsel and encourage their youth groups. it’s a pretty cool gig.
the past two weeks have been a whirlwind for me and wanda…that culminated with hoping in a car (a pretty sweet car…thanks corey and lindsey) right after i finished preaching on sunday and driving like crazy for nearly 24 hours to arrive at the pacific ocean by noon on monday.
we did it with time to spare. (i CAN floor it, when necessary…).
i started working right away and haven’t slowed down much…though we have made time to visit a few favorite restaurants. as hard as we try in texas, a fish taco just tastes a whole lot better when you’re eating it right near the fish’s former home.
we’ve seen a few old friends. we might see a few more. our free time in the homeland is pretty limited this year. we’ll continue to enjoy it a lot for a few more days before we head home. sure hope the cold front is lingering in north texas. yeah. right.
i had a lady come up to me this morning after i spoke. she is on the youth staff of a large church in the denver area. she had recently moved there from her home in southlake, texas (near our home in lewisville, for those of you who are geographically and travel-challenged). she was a teacher in the lewisville school district for years…at griffin middle school in the colony…before they made the move out of state.
“why in the world did you ever move from san diego to texas? what were you thinking? we absolutely love the beauty of colorado and it’s even more beautiful here in san diego. why did you do this?” (i wish i could convey the appropriate voice inflection of her questioning. it was rather dramatic.)
it’s funny. it wasn’t until i moved to texas eighteen years ago, that i came to realize there were so many people who were absolutely passionate about where they lived. and for many reasons.
over the years, i’ve personally met hundreds of texans (and thousands and thousands more through the media) who are fiercely loyal to the state…pledging allegiance unapologetically and declaring moral, environmental, ethical, political, religious, and sports superiority with no shame…and no filter. and would NEVER even think of living anywhere else.
before we moved to texas, i had never experienced THAT kind of regional loyalty. ( back in the day, though, i wish i would have thought about making christmas ornaments in the shape of the state of california. maybe things would be different there now.)
california? look, there are probably way more people who HATE california (smog, crowded, liberal politics, illegals, gays, earthquakes, broken economy, snooty valley talk, whatever…) than like it. a week of vacation in san diego or huntington beach? sure. move there? they’d rather die first.
i bet some of the same regional passion occurs in other places. the isolated beauty of a pristine hawaiian island. the rugged landscape of a high elevation forest. the quiet hills of west texas or the rolling landscape of the smokey mountains. crisp new england nights. the smell of salt air on the coast. the call of geography is loud and clear for many.
regional passion occurs in opposite ways, also. the over-crowdedness of the city. concrete jungles. cost of living. too hot. too cold. too humid. too mundane. no seasons. too liberal. too country. too old fashioned. too isolated. ethnic make-up. school reputations. crime. you name it.
deep down, the truth is i don’t really care where i live geographically. i haven’t lived in a bunch of places, but the places i’ve lived have been incredibly diverse. if i could pick anywhere to live (regardless of job or church or family), i would probably pick somewhere that never got hot. if i were skinny, i would probably widen my geographic choices. norway sounds pretty nice. and i would choose to live in a highly crowded area. i like visiting the wilderness. it doesn’t mean i want to live with trees.
i’ve learned to see the good in everywhere. and i mean EVERYWHERE. people are people. a little bit of good and bad in all of us.
i’m grateful to be alive and to have a purpose that transcends location.
and i’m really grateful to be writing this while a gentle, cool ocean breeze is hitting me in the face.