I've been thinking a lot this week about loving my place. Obviously the entirety of work that So Shine does is centered on loving your place, but I've been very reflective of loving MY place.
My place is Newton, Kansas - population approx. 19,000. Newton is the most wonderful small town just north of Wichita. It's considered "rural" America and I couldn't love a place more...
I looked up the word "loving" and Merriam Webster defines it as: affectionate; painstaking.
Wow. As I reflect on the emotions I've had about my place this week, I would agree that it has been a loving response. I have deep affection. My action and emotions agree with the definition of painstaking.
I have a vision of Newton transformed. I long for the narrative of my hometown to change, and as much as it depends on me - I work toward that goal. The negative folklore and dark tales of our town's past will not compare to the stories of transformation that will make our town famous. My desire is to see a town so transformed by goodness that it literally is counter to the culture of the world around us - shining SO brightly in the darkness that others take notice and seek to tell a new story about loving THEIR place.
I always imagined that getting from point A to point B would be a beautiful, uphill, increasingly good climb... This past week has felt like anything but.
My heart has broken into what feels like a million pieces this week as I see those leading SUCH GREAT CHANGE in our town crumbling under the weight of adversity. Why? How? If point B is well within view, why would we be taking a step (or two!) backward towards the way things have always been? Why NOW would our town become so easily divided? How could this be part of the plan to transformation? I don't have the answers. But I just can't give up. I can't accept that these hiccups will defeat the vision. I can't believe that good won't win in the end.
So I will just wake up and show up again tomorrow - loving my place - and believing that others that love my place will, too.