A letter to you, my new city.
You are not like Columbia. You are not like Temple or even Austin (though you are more like Austin than anything else). I don’t know how to describe you, really. Before we met, I thought that you were dirty, icky, kind of greasy in a bad way, loud, and ugly in the sense that you are filled with black city gunk and smoke factories.
But I was very wrong about you. Very, very wrong, and I hope you will learn to be friends with me.
My first real night out by myself I got lost. I misplaced my car in your gridded streets, took a cab to the dmv, and considered filing a police report before I actually found him. It wasn’t a good introduction, and it scared me out of my wits. I cried for a whole day.
Since then, my husband has taken me on many dates in your marvelous city. Dates that I would consider to be the best of the best, the most exciting we have ever been on. I’ve tasted your delicious food, I’ve indulged in your free shows, I’ve walked your streets, and I’m beginning to meet your people. I like your little markets spread throughout your neighborhoods. I like your venues and class, something I’ve never noticed before. Your sophisticated, city, hipster class. And I really, really like your people. A lot.
One thing is for sure, Phila. I’m excited about you. Your possibilities and hope offer me a lot these days. When I’m missing my Texan friends, your city people draw me in. When I’m missing my SC comforts, your novelty pulls at my soul. I didn’t know that you would have gluten free bakeries, something my other cities are missing. I didn’t know that your neighborhoods would be so, so cute. That I would really like the thought of moving into one of your itty bitty homes above your busy, full, loud streets. I didn’t know that we would find a home church so quickly. I definitely didn’t know that we would like your people so much, that they would love on us and invite us to do things and warm our hearts with their friendship quite so fast. They say this is the city of brotherly love, and I kind of get it.
Another thing, Phila. I didn’t know there would be so many ministry opportunities here. But the more I pass your homeless and hurting, the more I want to stay and tell them about my God. I never thought I’d ever even consider the thought of raising a family here. But the more I see little families and their strollers crossing the big city street, the more I feel comfortable trying that out. You are promising.
This crazy adventure that God brought us on? That big huge road to Emmaus that the Lord met us on? It led us here, against our will, and surprisingly so. But the thing about the one who brought us here is that He has good plans for us. He cares for us so much. He offers us wonderful things that we could never even grasp or fathom on our own. And He leads us, restores our souls.
We like you Philadelphia. We like you a lot. We praise our Father in heaven for introducing us to you. We praise Him for restoring to us the joy of our salvation. And we praise Him for this big adventure in your city.
Between you and me, we are happy to be here. Really, really happy.
To all the future things we will do together,