When people learn I live in the middle of no where, surrounded by flat lands and rows of corn, they often wonder why on earth I choose to stay in this little city of Kearney (CAR-KNEE). To me, it’s more than that. It’s the place where I was given room to find my identity and grow up. I could strut the campus of UNK like a proud mama peacock, knowing I was making my rooted peeps proud of being the first in five generations to get an education.
The town of 35,000 is known for being friendly with a churches outnumbering the bars and it is the Sandhill Crane capital of the world. Every year, these gray birds fly into the Nebraska corn fields and nest through March and April. My family and I scratch our heads as crane-crazed tourists invade our city because for the life of, we don’t know what’s so great about ’em.
It has an emerging food scene with food truck wars on Thursday nights, live music in the park on Sunday nights or at Cunningham’s Journal. The weather is beautiful and it has amazing food finds at the Farmer’s Markets every Wednesday and Saturday. It might be considered the sunshine city with friendly people. It has a little bit of everything.
In fact, an attorney I recently interviewed said, Kearney has everything a big city has but with awesome bike and running trials. As a fellow runner who runs to blow off the steam of chid rearing, who am I to argue. 🙂
Still some wonder why I would want to live here because it’s a college town and often times the parties put a smudge on the city. But more often than not, dark moments fill the headlines. But what I’m learning is this. I’m learning to recognize the light in the stories of those I have the honor to meet on the job (Hub journalist).
It’s all a matter of perspective and how one chooses to see the world, the city, and the people.
If you’re looking for darkness, it’s exactly what you’ll find and you’ll forget what the lightness looks and feels like. If you’re looking for light, you’ll find it splitting through the tiniest of cracks.
I see light in the soul of the farmer whose hands are covered in soil from working the ground the way his grandfather used to.
I see light pouring forth from photographs capturing a ‘forever moment’, as a mom overcoming dyslexia talks through her photographs: expression, emotion, depth and beauty.
I see light shinning through the heart of a nine-year-old boy whose compassion and company soothes the soul of a widow’s lonely heart.
I see the light illuminating a bridge being built between churches and the gay community.
I see light pouring from young adults bound by disabilities but finding ways to be overcomers in the community, happy to clean an office.
Perhaps we miss the light because our eyes are drawn to the brokeness. We see the crack, the pieces, and want to fix it or hide it.
Could it be that the light is shinning through the cracks of our cities, homes, and walkways that we haven’t noticed? Maybe it’s because we don’t see it because we can’t understand how a good God would allow so much pain?
But here’s the thing, when we choose in enter into someone else’s life or listen to their story, God’s kingdom invades that moment, light shinning through, illuminating God’s kingdom, here in the now. Light breaks through when we choose to set aside our differences and beliefs as we have a conversation.
Light shines through when we look into the eyes of the broken and hurting as we cool ourselves from the heat of summer over ice cream.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Our world, our city will look dark and broken if we choose to retreat into our pinterest perfect homes, but if we opened the door to those who aren’t like us and we choose to listen to their stories, the light comes flooding in.
Sign up for my posts and get a free copy of my new book, “Let’s Talk.”