September 3, 2010

For the Love of a City

Milestones have a way of making me nostalgic.  One year ago today a red Dogde Caravan filled with a visionary pastor and his hopeful wife, two wiggly boys, an overwrought cat, bulging suitcases, an heirloom kitchen table, and way too many fast food wrappers passed through a canyon and rounded a bend in I 40 from behind the Sandia Mountains.

I can remember catching that first glimpse of Albuquerque.  I had seen it before from an airplane, but that visit was different.  Then it wasn't our city.  Now it was ours.  It was our mission field, where we had been sent.  Our purpose lay inside those miniature doll houses and drove in those toy cars and walked by the side of that ribbon of water meandering through the metropolis.  I knew no one, but I was already in love.

If you've been pregnant, you know.  You've felt the love of something not yet actualized.  I was in love with a church that didn't yet exist, and I had dreams for people whom I had never met.  My heart was breaking, and still does, for people who are marginalized and hurting in this city.  Every day I drive down Paseo del Norte and get a view of the whole city and still get choked up for the masses who might feel lonely, who might need hope.  Especially when I see the whole city a night, I can't help but think that behind each twinkling light is a story, a soul.  Each person behind each lamp will be somewhere in a million years.

I didn't know it was possible to feel so at home in one year.  I think God has a way of showing you where you're supposed to be.  New Mexico has become my home.  I have embraced her beauty and her eccentricity, and she has enchanted me.  In honor of our one year anniversary I've compiled this list of 52 things, one for every week we've been here, I love about this place.

1. New City Christian Church 
2. Magnificent city vistas
3. Brilliant sunsets that turn the mountain pink
4. Hiking in the Sandias
5. Wildflowers
6. Hiking the volcanos
7. Walking in the Bosque
8. Seasons
9. Green chile
10. Red chile
11. The smoky, spicy smell of roasted chile in the fall outside every supermarket
12. Nob Hill
13. Chile ristas
14. A short drive and you can be in the middle of nowhere
15. Farmer's markets
16. Junk shops on 4th Street
17. Our bustling house
18. Camping
19. Good neighbors
20. The mesa behind our house
21. The drive down Paseo
22. Oak Grove Classical Academy
23. MOMS Club Ventana Ranch Central
24. Hippies
25. The Rio Grande
26. Leaves that turn yellow
27. The ABQ Zoo
28. The ABQ Botanic Gardens
29. Explora
30. Tumbleweeds
31. Farm animals in the middle of the city
32. The Frontier Restaurant
33. The Lobos
34. Roadrunners on my back wall
35. Desert rain storms
36. Turquoise jewelry
37. Cowboy boots
38. Cottonwood fairies
39. Wide sidewalks in Ventana Ranch
40. Lavender in the summer
41. Good friends for my boys
42. Sophia's Place
43. The Petroglyphs
44. El Pinto
45. Enormous blue sky
46. Snow on the mountain in the winter
47. Balloon fiesta
48. Dry air, which equals great hair!
49. Turquoise Trail
50. Madrid
51. The diversity
52. A big city that feels like a small town

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