The City

the-city

 

I didn’t feel like coming into The City today. And I guess that brings me full circle because the first time I came to this city, I can remember thinking how dirty, ugly, and crowded it was and how I’d never subject myself to living in such a nasty place…

 

I grew up in the country. But just before I turned twenty, I met a City Man and fell in love—well, I fell in something and followed him into the very city I had always detested.

 

My first couple of years in The City nearly kicked my tail. I hired on with a temp service as a secretary. The service sent me to offices all over town for one or two weeks at a time. I was barely making minimum wage. One week, they couldn’t find me an office job. I was so desperate for income that I accepted a job in a meat packing plant, where I lasted one very nauseating day before I quit. Within nine months, I found myself broke, broken-hearted, and living alone in the dirty, ugly, crowded City that I still hated.

 

I have to give The City some credit. It forced me to grow up. Two years after I arrived, I started college in The City. I got my degree there. My first “real” job, teaching ESL at the community college. All told, I called The City “home” for 8 years, 5 months, and 3 days—longer than any other place I have ever lived.

 

I didn’t come to The City today with the intention of strolling down memory lane, but that’s where I found myself anyway. I drove all over town, running errands, and seeing memories on practically every block.

 

I’m not sure why I swung through that particular neighborhood, but I found myself passing a tiny dead-end road where I used to baby-sit for the poorest family I’ve ever known. A friend had told me a couple of years ago that all four houses there had been condemned and torn down, yet somehow, it was still a shock for me to see it. I was mostly struck by how in this City that is constantly changing, where new buildings go up every day, they still haven’t built anything in that empty little neighborhood. Instead, there are four squares of yellow-brown grass where four dirty little falling-down houses used to stand.

 

I’m the same way, I think. God comes into neighborhoods of my life and condemns and tears down the ugly houses. But instead of inviting Him to build something new and beautiful and useful, I get scared and refuse. I put fences around those neighborhoods so that God can’t build there. I protect them like shrines, remembering how it used to be “in Egypt” and wondering why I ever left there.

 

Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and I knock…” And I invited Him into my heart. But once He comes in, I have to let Him change every part of my heart, not just the ones that are comfortable or convenient.

 

I thank God for bringing me to The City today to remember the lessons I learned here. And the many lessons I still have to learn.

 

Today’s post is part of our regular Blog Carnival and today’s topic is “Remember.” You can find a veritable plethora of great blog posts on this topic by visiting the Blog Carnival on Peter Pollock’s website. If you have a blog posted on this topic, you can add your link to our Carnival at the same site!

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Sometimes there is something worthy of salvage in a house no longer fit to exist. Those memories are the spoils of Egypt now consecrated for use in the Lord’s service.

  2. So, what’s going to get built?

  3. Thanks for taking me with you to The City today. Good thoughts to ponder about the God working in our ‘neighborhoods’.

  4. The bible talks about how a demon gets cast out, then goes around the world and comes back to check on his old stomping ground and finds it cleaned and empty so he goes back in, this time taking some of his friends.

    This is what can happen when we allow God to tear down places in us and then don’t let him build anew!

    It’s time to let God in, Sarah! :-)

  5. I married a man with a house in a suburb.
    I felt awkward about not being in the city anymore. The funny thing is, our suburb is completely surrounded by the city, so it is really not so different afterall.

  6. “And I invited Him into my heart. But once He comes in, I have to let Him change every part of my heart, not just the ones that are comfortable or convenient.”

    Ouch! Did you mean to hurt me like that, Sarah? 😉

    This is a wonderful post, and one I obviously related to… thank you!

  7. Good stuff, Sarah. We have to let Him build what He wants. It’s His land- we gave it to Him…

  8. If more of us could accept and find the positive in “our city” like you have, we’d be praising God more than we do. I love how you chose to trust you were where God placed you for that season of your life and thrived despite your initial fear and dislike. Great post Sarah!

  9. Whenever I travel back to where I was born and raised, I have the same experiences as you. I find myself going down ‘memory lane’ as I pass all of the areas that used to be part of daily life, that are barely even familiar anymore. When we first moved where I live now about 22 years ago, I had no intentions of staying. None. I was a country girl and I liked it that way.

    Like you, I thought the city we had moved to (3000 miles away from home) was dirty and crowded. I now live about 25 miles north of where we lived when we first moved here. So when I travel back to those areas, again, same weird familiar but not so much anymore.

    Isn’t it interesting how God allows us to visit these memories to remind us of where we’ve been and how far we have (hopefully) come on our journey to get closer to Him.

  10. Bernadette Pabon says:

    You really touched me with your post. I just had to make many changes in my life,my husband passed away, had to raise my son alone, had to work, and move wth my son, so many changes, Life is change. And you have done quite well with your “life changes”.

    God bless you,

  11. What a beautiful post. As a country girl, who met and married a city boy, I can certainly relate. I loved your analogy about God coming into our lives to knock down the broken houses for something but we resist. I really enjoyed this. Thank you.

  12. good post.

    God bless you.

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