I should note that this post comes as a result of this conversation with my wife…I’ll cut you in mid stream…
Christie: What’s with all the book reviews?
Erik: Book reviews are helpful to folks, plus I read them.
Christie: Its getting old. And anything you write anymore comes from a sermon I have already heard. You are too young for syndication already.
Erik: I’m kinda busy these days.
Christie: Blog about that conversation about Omaha and why we don’t want to leave.
The other night I was visiting with some friends who are from the West Coast and are providentially now living here in Nebraska. They long for California with groanings that rival the creation’s persistent anticipation of the restoration of all things. As I thought about their desire to move and what has happened in my family’s life, I had to just muse a bit.
I originally grew up in Massachusetts. According to God’s all wise and somewhat humerous plan he was pleased to bring me to the Midwestern plains of Nebraska nearly 13 years ago. I am thankful for this move, after all this is where I first heard and understood the gospel, it is where our children have been born, and where my wife and I have forged together as we grow in life and ministry. This is also where we met our friends at Omaha Bible Church. All of this is extremely precious to us today.
My wife is originally from Memphis. Over the last 15 years we have many times ‘planned’ to act upon our longings to move back to Massachusetts or even to the South. Early on, we were sometimes preoccupied with these plans to move. However, in thinking about my friends, talking with Christie, and surveying my own heart it appears something has changed.
I sit here in a landlocked, hot (at least in the Summer), relatively slow (in terms of pace), fairly agricultural, city. I used to sit and creatively think of ways to leave Omaha in brainstorming sessions that rival a debt reduction planning session. Now I sit here in Omaha and am genuinely endeared to this place. It has strangely become home.
The other day we were bringing our son to meet a friend to watch Batman and when we were leaving the theater I was struck by my reaction to the landscape. We were in a community outside of Omaha that is somewhat in transition between agriculture and a developed suburb. As we sat at the stoplight I remarked to Christie as to how picturesque the tall corn stocks, white barn, blue skies, and hills were. I even said (gulp) the view was beautiful.
So what in the world has happened? I no longer want to leave this place. In fact, the people here (believers and unbelievers) have been so endeared to us that we really like it here. We love the city of Omaha, the people that make it up and the landscape that surrounds it. I think it is more than just getting old and putting down roots. We are here for the purpose of gospel ministry, serving in the local church, seeking the good of the city. I trust God has done this. He has endeared this community, Omaha in general and Omaha Bible Church in particular to us. It seems God has truly replaced a burden for ‘home’ with a burden for our heavenly citizenship and the subsequent responsibility to labor hard and joyfully in whatever section of the Master’s vineyard we find ourselves. I just find this remarkable.