I’m writing from my favorite Panera, with a perfect view of Pikes Peak and the sight of hot air balloons bobbing along the neighborhood--a definite sign that it’s almost Labor Day.
It feels so good to be back in our home community. The fire this summer helped me to realize that I had not deeply invested much when I lived here prior. I think I was afraid of the pain of pulling up roots to church plant somewhere else one day. So I guarded my heart.
But then the fire…I watched in horror as the flames raged live on the screen. As a child, I played with friends in that neighborhood. I went on Kyla’s field trip to Flying W Ranch just a couple years ago. It’s gone.
Inside, I screamed, “That’s my home. That’s my community! Those are my people!”
I was ready to come home from Kansas. So ready to be part of this people who never imagined that their town could be ravaged with such destruction. In some sense we are all rebuilding from the pain and hurt that took place in recent months. From the devastation and grief we could not have imagined last summer.
As part of my own rebuilding, I’m paying attention for ways to invest in the community of writers, artists, and spiritual directors here in Colorado. Several of the directors and counselors joined forces to help individuals work through the loss caused by the fire. They have been holding weekly meetings at my place of employment. I love seeing the community work together.
For several years, I’ve been looking at national conferences on faith and writing. Each year they come and go, and I just can’t get to them with our young family, working on projects with fierce deadlines, and Jeff finishing school. At times, I’ve been discouraged because I long to build relationships with other writers. I see them talking to one another online. They have something special together.
But, I think that perhaps I have been focused on the wrong group. What about the people here in Colorado who are listening and creating and connecting to people only minutes from them? National connections are not bad but I realize I have neglected my own neighbors.
I will not do that again. I want to dig down and put roots here. Deep roots. For myself, for our family, and for whatever God wants to do through us here in the present. I’m starting a new job here in Colorado Springs, with an old group of people that I love. I’m also hoping to attend a local writing retreat next month.
Community does not burn down. I’m so glad to be part of this one.
Thank you, Lord, for all you’ve done and what you will do. Bring healing and restoration. We need it.