I have so many thoughts about my time here in Detroit proper. There have been many good times here, and a few not so good times. This chapter is ending, my time here is over. This is something I feel deep inside. But that means a new chapter is about to begin.
When reading a good novel, the end of a chapter is usually the most climactic. It makes you want to turn the page quickly to see what the next chapter will say. I am at this point in my story. It feels very climactic, lots of things coming to a head, and all I want is to turn the page and find out what happens next, to have a little more peace.
There are two major and conflicting thoughts about moving that I’ve been mulling over. The first is that I am excited to move on. I cannot wait to live in a safe and comfortable neighborhood, where I can feel good about letting my kids play outside. More than any other reason, the well-being of my children pulls at me to leave the city. I want them to have a good school, to live in a neighborhood with other children they can play with. I want to live in a place where calls to the police are answered the same day. Are these things bad for me to want? No.
But are they the most noble and good things for me to want? This is the conflict in my heart. Above my families comfort, I should want to spread Christ’s love throughout this hurting city. There is a slight feeling that I have failed here. I am confident that my family has been a beacon of love to a few select neighbors, and maybe that’s all I was supposed to be. But perhaps there was supposed to be more.
I always thought I was going to have a God-conversation with at least one prostitite and maybe even invite her home for dinner, but I never did. There was always an excuse : I was on my way here or there, I had the kids with me, or I was not feeling prayed up enough. Yeah, I know: lame excuses.
I drive around in my city, feeling a little of the hurt that I know God must feel when He sees all the people who are hurting or in bondage. Last week, I drove by a woman half-dressed, her mind clearly off in some chemical dream land. My heart cries for her, and for the so many forgotten souls like her that live in this city. It’s easy for people that live in the suburbs of Detroit to forget these hurting ones. The well-off never have to see any of it. I see it everyday. I dont want to forget these people and their intense struggles. I want to pray, I want to make a difference.
Have I made enough of a difference? Am I running away, like Jonah? No. I dont think I am runing away. I dont feel God is telling me to stay. But I feel blessed that I have this experience to keep in my heart, that I have this burning for the hurting souls in Detroit that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And it may be that one day something will come of this.
I am packing my house to leave the city, but the city will always have a place in my heart.