The Thrill of Big Cities

I just spent a long weekend in Atlanta contemplating a new direction for my life (we’ll see–I contemplate a lot) and got back last night. I love road trips and for the past three years I haven’t really taken any (except to move back to Florida from Houston in September 2009) due to financial constraints from being unemployed and a set of very, very, VERY old tires on my car. Well, the tire issue was resolved when I got a flat a few weeks ago and decided it was time for a new set of tires regardless of the cost or the fact that I have had no income for the past year since my unemployment checks ran out in May 2011.

WOW!!! What a difference a new set of tires can make! I decided to break them in with this trip to Atlanta (a 7 1/2-hour drive one way from where I currently live). As I zipped on down (or rather, up) I-75 it was smooth sailing (nothing like mixing metaphors) all the way until I hit construction at the south end of Atlanta. Not to worry though as I was in no hurry and I was thrilled to be back in a big city again. As I wound through downtown Atlanta (on I-75) I could feel the energy of that city and it reminded me of when I drove to Houston in September 2008 to start that ill-fated job–but it was a good memory (not because of the ill-fated job but because of the vibrancy of the city of Houston). On that trip I zipped through the heart of downtown Houston during morning rush hour on the way to the apartment I had rented (sight unseen, by the way) to start my new, but rather short-lived life in Houston. Did I mention this was less than three weeks after Hurricane Ike hit Houston? My colleagues where I worked in Lakeland, FL, were shocked that I was still considering going there right after a major hurricane hit the city, but I’ve never been one to let anything get in the way of a great opportunity and I had already lived through five hurricanes including Hurricane Andrew during the years I have lived in Florida (since June 1992). And, at least I wasn’t actually in Houston at the time Ike hit!

Yikes! Imagine this jammed full with vehicles.

Navigating rush hour traffic in downtown Houston at that time with about a zillion additional power/energy vehicles on the road along with regular rush hour traffic took a lot of time–about an hour and a half just to navigate from one side of town to the other and switching freeways in the middle of it. But zipping under, over, and through downtown Houston was still thrilling just to see all of the tall buildings (there’s some very cool architecture) and feel the energy there. I can’t remember a time when I was happier moving to a new city other than in June 1992 when I drove from Des Moines, IA, to Fort Lauderdale, FL, to start a one-year doctoral fellowship at Nova Southeastern University, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. . . .

There is something about really big cities that just thrills me to my soul and I can feel the energy pulse through me when I am in them. I feel more alive and less like I am stagnating, and while my creative juices follow me wherever I go, the energy of big cities seems to bring them out even more. Imagine what would happen if I ended up in a city the size of New York or L.A. I’d probably explode! Well, Houston is close as it is ranked #4 and Atlanta comes in at #40 of the top 50 biggest cities in the US according to Infoplease.com.

These past three days in Atlanta gave me a shot in the arm and a boost to my morale that I really needed. I don’t have a clue where it might lead but I know I’m tired of stagnating and waiting for my life to get off of hold. I can’t magically improve the economy and/or find a new job in the midst of it (and it appears the politicians in Washington D.C. can’t either although they are all still employed), but while I still have a few dollars left in my pocket and four new tires on my car, I might start taking a whole lot more weekend trips. And who knows, maybe I’ll find a job during one of them. After all, it’s a big world out there . . . .

Now at this point, if you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know I come from a decidedly Christian perspective, but as you’ve probably noticed in this particular blog post, I haven’t mentioned anything that most people would categorize as particularly “Christian.” That’s because God is a whole lot bigger than what we, especially here in America, separate out as “Christian.” The whole topic of what people consider to be “secular” and “sacred” is not something I wish to tackle in a blog post (and I’ll leave it to others to discuss the¬†dichotomy which I don’t happen to believe exists). In a conversation I had the other day with a “non-believing” friend (for lack of a better term), she stated that she didn’t know I was so “religious.” I had to keep from laughing as it goes to show just how much people separate out “God” stuff from the rest of what they think life is all about.

Suffice it to say, God created everything, even the people who designed and built all of these great cities and freeway systems. God is not some kill-joy out there in the universe trying to think up ways to keep us distant from Him or hating Him (no, it’s people who think up ways to keep us distant from God or hating Him). If it wasn’t for God, we (and this planet) would not exist. Period.¬†Therefore, there is absolutely no separation between secular and sacred whether you believe in God or not. God doesn’t exist is a box of our own making. And, He isn’t the least bit limited by our own thinking. We are . . . .

And that’s about as “religious” as I’m going to get in this post, folks. As my old friend from bygone years would say . . . .

“You think about that . . . .”

YouTube Video: “Rockin’ Down the Highway” by the Doobie Brothers

Photo credit of Atlanta here
Photo credit of Houston here
Photo credit of Houston freeways here