So, maybe I'll be moving on within the next year, but so far every door of which I've rattled the handle has either shut or remained locked. And then about two weeks ago a situation arose which made me think, "Yeah, you might want to rethink going into Starbucks management, but you are staying in this geographical location for the foreseeable future." Some of this is related to the stuff I was talking to my pastors about the other weekend.
The realisation that the WC would most likely be my home for at least another two years was a little discouraging for me, maybe because I get naturally stir-crazy, or maybe because it's tough to live in a city that has so much personality and so little going for it. My brother once likened it to a relative with an addiction (and I may say it probably does have an addiction)--you love them and they're family, but sometimes their decisions are painful and at the very least embarrassing.
I had to sit with a feeling of trapped-ness for a while, and then the phrase "seek the good of the city" began to circulate in my head. It is a paraphrase of part of Jeremiah 29.5-7, which, in the NIV, reads:
"Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."Jeremiah wrote this (at the direction of God, though very few people believed it) to the exiles of his people to Babylon. I doubt they found Babylon any more inspiring than I find my city, due to the fact that they had been brought there against their will and everything. I used to embrace this verse in the context of East London. East London wasn't all that fashionable of a place to live, either, but at least it was connected to a "real city" with lots of stuff to do, and at least I knew people there from varied ethnic groups. I think I had a sort of desire to seek the good of my current city when I first moved back here, but I maybe have kind of given up.
Just like the city.
I'm a little dubious that I personally will be able to effect a whole lot of change here. But as I'm seeking what to do next, I have the sense that the question I need to be asking--and trying, with God's inspiration, to answer--is, "How can I promote the good of my city?" And then, whatever the answer is, I need to do it. I pray I do.