Sometimes I remember other places where I used to live and I sigh with nostalgia. When you’ve been everywhere it’s hard to settle somewhere. I regularly battle postal code envy.
This morning as I was getting ready for the day I smiled. I have a good life. There’s so much about living here that I love. It struck me that I should make a note about those things when days are sunny. What would it look like to think about the things I love about where I live? It seems like such a tangible way to live here and now.
I was talking these things over with Lowell. He remembered something he had recently read in Sacred Fire by Ronald Rolheiser. Rolheiser lists ten indicators of spiritual maturity. I was fascinated when Lowell said that the first one on the list is Live in gratitude and thank your Creator by enjoying your life. He goes on to say:
As well, our gratitude is meant to carry something else: enjoyment of the gift that is given to us. The highest compliment we can give a gift giver is to enjoy the gift thoroughly. We owe it to our Creator to appreciate things, to be as happy as we can be. Life is meant to be more than a test, and so we might add this to our daily prayer: give us today our daily bread, and help us to enjoy it without guilt.
I’ve invited others into the joy of discovering what we love about the places we live. I wrote several friends who grew up somewhere but now live somewhere else. I asked them to tell me the top six reasons they love where they live. The responses were so full of joy (and so plentiful…this has become a mini-series)! My friends took pleasure in thinking about their corner of the globe—they seemed to delight to tell me what they enjoy most about where they’ve been placed.
We live here on purpose. There are other places we could live, or even have lived—but this is the place we are now. And we owe it to our Creator to live in gratitude, to be as happy as we can be.
I grew up in Pakistan.
I live now in Manhattan, Kansas.
- I love Radinas –our local coffee shop! It brings me joy that the morning baristas there know my drink of choice: single extra hot latte with half the regular vanilla syrup!
- I love the sense of community that thrives in this small city. I appreciate that people are friendly. They smile and nod their heads at me when I pass.
- Kansas has these wide-open skies and expansive horizons—I love that! It speaks to me of eternity and glory.
- I’m so grateful for USD383 (our school district) and the opportunities my kids have here. I’ve watched with pride as they’ve each tried their hands at pottery, school plays, sports.
- I love the Flint hills and the Konza prairie—unusual elements of creation right outside our back door!
- It fascinates me that we get to experience all four seasons when they come to visit –which is often—sometimes all in one week. There’s a reason most Kansans are fixated on the weather. They get a lot of it!
I grew up in India, England and America.
I now live in England.
- I love that I live at home in my room and that it’s somewhere where I know I don’t have to leave in 6 months time.
2. I love that I have an easy commute to work and that my colleagues are awesome.
3. I love that I have a really solid core group of friends here and that doing life with them is a privilege and a joy.
4. I love the fact that it doesn’t snow here.
5. I love that public transport runs effectively here.
6. I have 2 churches I go to here and both are family and that is a rare and special thing to have.
The list could go on!
I love the post script that Karis added: I call 2015 the year I learned to be content. Because I spent January-March itching to get back to America. Then I spent March to June being content where I was but still wanting to go back to America. And then I spent June-October wondering if I even should go back to America. And then I spent October-December telling people that it’s final and I’m back in England indefinitely.
I grew up in Southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.
I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Six things I love about Albuquerque:
- Amazing sunsets
- Green chile
- 360 days of sunshine per year
- Seeing all the stars from our roof
- A mix of people: Hispanic, Native American, and more
- Wide open spaces with mountains
- And green chile—yes it’s that good to mention twice!
- And wait…coconut margaritas but need Robynn here to fully enjoy!!
I grew up in Holland, Australia, and India.
I live in Northern Thailand.
1. The sky is spectacular every day. It can be filled with every type of cloud, or golden light and in the ‘Green Season’ when it rains and rains, it is filled with rainbows.
2. My spiritual community at the moment is full of people who appreciate and love beauty. Everyone works together to bring more and more beauty to our little Christ-Centred Meditation Space. Often we will be sitting together in a circle and someone will get up and move something slightly or light a candle so that the space is more pleasing to be in.
3. The little town where I live, Pai, is a hub of musicians and poets. Artistic freedom abounds and there is a lot of sweetness and support as well.
4. I love going to the local market on Wednesdays when all of the Hill Tribe people come down from their villages and do a big shop for supplies. Everywhere I look is a potential postcard picture.
5. The place where I live is safe. My son can ride his bike all over and I can imagine a future where my daughter will be treated respectfully. I am so thankful for this.
6. There are still enough challenges to facilitate spiritual growth. I know that God is still working in me and that this chapter of life is a gift and that somehow (in ways I do not fully understand), these are the conditions that are needed to make me more like Christ and to help me understand His love more…if I will allow Him to do His thing.
What do you love about where you live?