Take 30 seconds and do something for me. Close your eyes and imagine the city in which you reside in. Describe it for me. Is it urban, suburban, or rural? Describe the people that reside in it. What do they look like, talk like, and think like? Describe the vibe. Is it fast paced or relaxed? Describe your favorite shops and restaurants. How do the stack up to other cities you have visited?
I love cities. Specifically, for me, I like active cities. Cities that are filled with people and active with life. I have lived in all sorts of cities from the rural, small city (calling it a town is a stretch) that had a general mercantile, a restaurant, and a few antique shops to the sprawling suburban city that feels more like a collection of strip malls to the large, urban metropolis city housing millions of people that seem to never sleep.
We all have our preference in which city type we desire to live in but no matter what city you prefer to call home one common thing should unite us. We should all deeply care about the stewardship and forward movement of the city we call home.
When I began dating my now wife we used to go hiking in an old, abandoned mining town. Every time we walked through what is now a ghost town, I would always wonder who the people were that called this home and what it must have been like to see their city die before their eyes as one by one the people who called it home moved on. What must it had been like for the last person who watched all the others leave, though either horse and wagon or through death.
These thoughts have been very prevalent on my mind lately as I struggle with the current reality of the city in which I reside. I love this city. It’s a gorgeous city with so much potential. But I’ve been living here now for over eight years and each year seems to see the slow decay of a city moving backwards. Growth in the downtown heart of the city continues to slow as new housing is mostly stagnant and businesses seem to turn over faster than pancakes cooking at the local breakfast joint. What’s been really sad this year is that we are now losing some of our most beloved businesses and owners and some of them are choosing to move because they see the handwriting on the wall and it’s not a favorable message.
I love this city. I hope my family and I live in this city for a long time. I pray daily for this city, for its people and for its future. I want to live in a thriving city that cares about its future.
But here’s the reality. I can’t just think about these things. I need to be an active participant. I need to get involved. I need to know the local business owners and frequent their stores and restaurants that I believe make our downtown the thriving city it should be. I need share how incredible my city is and encourage people to live in it. I need to rally my neighbors and friends to do the same. I hope my city has a turnaround. Especially before it’s too late.
What about you? Do you love your city? Are you active in making it a thriving city? What does this look like to you?