Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Leaving Chicago...

Far, far away
From those city lights
That might be shining on you tonight
Far, far away from you
On the dark side of the moon

I long to hold you in my arms and sway
Kiss and ride on the CTA
I need to see you tonight

And those bright lights
Oh, I know it's right
Deep in my heart
I'll know it's right

By the bed, by the light that you read by
By the time that I get home to say good night
I need to see you again
On the dark side my friend
On the dark side
Jeff Tweedy, the lead singer of the Chicago-based band Wilco, wrote the above lyrics. They suggest that while he was out on tour "on the dark side of the moon" he was "far, far away" from the one that he loved. His desire was to be with them, to ride the CTA– affectionately known as the "EL"– to be at the bed of his loved one. Whether his loved one was the Second City itself, or his lover who dwelled there, the lyrics don't clarify. However, if I had written the song, the words would have referred to both.

In the midst of packing– or procrastinating the process– I decided to write about how I would be missing this City of Big Shoulders that have been supportive to me over the past 7 years of my life. No wonder I'll miss it so. It's been my the hub of my comings and goings as long as my time spent in Tulsa. I have grown fond of this city, with its political machines, mediocre roads, amazing food, beautiful art, well-served public transportation, amazing people, great parks, heartbreaking sports teams, cold/rainy/icy/snowy/sunny/cloudy/beautiful weather, frustrations, pains, joys, longings, architecture, community... I could go on.

Of course, just as painful as leaving the city itself is leaving the deep friendships that I have developed here. Both in seminary and after, I have felt loved on every level and have made friends that go beyond merely drinking good beer, eating great food, watching Monday Night Football, walking the dog, playing poker, picking out great wines, celebrating the goodness of God, worshiping, taking communion, seeing live performances, cooking, serving, gathering, brunching, etc. It hurts my heart to leave these great friends in this city that I love.

Knowing that if for some reason, I don't return, I will see them again on an eternal scale is comforting. Knowing that "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future," is foundational in me keeping any kind of composure through this transition. So though I may be far, far away longing to ride on the CTA, my trust lies not in the city that I dwell or in those with whom I dwell there, but in the God of Israel, who was their God no matter where they were and no matter where I am.