Friday, January 18, 2013

Returning to Iquique

I do love this place.

I love the cool-ish breeze blowing in the late afternoon, bringing sweet relief from the sticky day and a light scent of the ocean below us. I love driving down the steep city streets, seeing nothing but concrete and construction, only to suddenly spy the sparkling Pacific stretched out across the horizon.

I love the warmth of the people we've come to know, the hugs and greetings in church and grocery store lines and the gift of time freely shared. I love arriving in summertime, not for the tourist attractions that draw outsiders but for the air of restfulness among city dwellers before the hectic demands of life and school begin again.

I even love the city noises, whether distant horns or the neighbors' phones ringing through thin walls or the snippets of conversation drifting in the window from passersby.

There are some things I don't love.

I don't love the dust - that gritty feel on fingers and floors and the fact that no amount of sweeping will ever take it all away. (This is the desert, after all.) I love the sunshine, but I don't love how the intensity of its rays burns through clothing and saps all strength in the middle of the day.

I don't love the paperwork required to live here nor the annoying reality that the governmental right hand and left often fail to communicate, leaving "to-do" lists half-done and wasting precious hours in pointless long lines. I do not love the "papparazzi" who stare and photograph my children without permission. (But, I do loved that they are loved!)

What I most love is our reason for being here.

Jesus Christ is the answer for the wealthy industrialist, the busy miner, the frazzled housewife. He is the answer for the children, often either overlooked or overindulged or overstressed by their parents' dreams pinned on them. For the tired nannies, the uniformed grocery clerks, and the hardworking cabbies hurrying across town and back, He is the answer. And He is the answer for our youth, so many of whom are drinking and drugging and dancing their confused rhythm through the tangled web of their teenage years.

Jesus Christ is Love Himself.

And we are here to love - this place and its people - in Him, and through Him, and for Him ... that they might know Him. That they might know Love.

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