This time of transition is best defined by the old phrase, “bitter-sweet.” As a family, Austin has been our home for 15 years. I arrived here 21 years ago, and the circumstance which perpetuated the move here were not ideal. 21 one years ago I would have never guessed that Austin would be a place I would not only fall in love with, but would be the foundation, backdrop, and setting for the first 15 years of our family's story. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Austin has become our city. What we gained can’t be bought. Who we have become because of the shaping power of place is irreplaceable. Austin has shaped us more than we know, and to be honest, we probably won’t know the full extent of Austin’s shaping power until we are out in other contexts.
In no way are we leaving Austin like a marathon runner finishing her race - with complete joy. We are leaving with hesitation. We are leaving with sadness. And yes, we are also leaving with excitement and anticipation. But as we leave we know there are several things we are going to miss...here are only a handful.
The Food: We are a foodie city, and we know it. In fact, when it comes to food our pretentious attitude runs high. But after living here for 21 years I’ve come to expect a certain quality of food and so we will miss it. We will miss the food...the tacos, the Bar-b-que, the artisan pizzas, the beer, the coffee, and the mexican food..we will miss the lovely idea that food can be more than item we eat, but an experience...we’ll miss it all!
Lady Bird Lake: Lady Bird Lake (aka, the Colorado River) has been a staple in my life for 21 years. She’s a pretty peaceful place to be. And it doesn’t matter what you are doing: walking, running, playing, thinking, or whatever - she has an innate beauty about her and adds so much to the downtown theme. For the past three years we have lived a little less than a mile from her, and she is the constant jogging pattern on our run days. She will be missed.
Congress Ave: One of my favorite drives in Austin is heading east on Annie Street to Congress and then turning north on Congress all the way to 6th. I don’t know why, but I love it. Already this past week, I've taken this drive even though it adds time to commute home. In 21 years I’ve seen Congress change a lot, but it has been fun to watch.
The Art Scene: I’m not an artist, but I have some pretty good friends who are. And even though I am not an artist, there is something innate in the art scene that I get. I said in a previous post that I was accused of never toeing the party line and I usually play the role of the 10th Man. According to Eric Hoffer, “creativity is discontent translated into the arts” and Agnes de Mille says, “the artist never entirely knows - we guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” According to Ken Robinson, the base of true creativity is divergent thinking.This attitude and way of being, I get. I understand that. Auguste says, when it comes to good art, “the main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live” and though I am not an artist (painter, sculptor, musician, etc), the divergent attitude of the artists in this city and the art itself inspires movement, love, hope and life!
The Tattooed people: Tattoos are just normal here. Everyone has them. When I visit other cities I almost feel self-conscious of my tattoos, because they are not hidden, and all up and down my right arm, but here in Austin I almost feel like a poser when it comes to tattoos. Tattoos here don’t stand for rebellion (I don’t think), they are not reserved for a certain type or class of people, tattoos are simply part of the culture here - rich, poor, politician, businessman, preacher, nonprofit director, or house mom, they are simply part of the scenery and people of Austin.
Allies Against Slavery: Several years I had the opportunity to be one of the original members of Allies Against Slavery, one of the original board members, and one of the architects to the Slave Free City vision (which if you haven’t signed the petition do it HERE). But beyond that, the people who run this great organization are constant challenges to me. They challenge me to live a more ethical life. Not only am I going to miss the organization, but I am going to miss the people who run and have influenced this organization. We deeply love them and are proud to call them friends. Jordan, John, Annette, Shelton, Laurie...we will certainly miss you all…Thanks for being who you are…
Paragon Jiu Jitsu: In Jiu Jitsu, my greatest weakness has been one of my greatest assets in life. Strength and powering through. Not only in the gym but in life I get things done and one of the ways I do that is through powering through. But in Jiu Jitsu it has gotten me choked, armbarred, and knee barred more times than I can count. Jiu Jitsu for me has been prophetic, not only is it a sport, but it is a way of being when one is off the mat. Paragon, has been the school that has welcomed us like family. Paragon, I have said, is one of the hardest places for me and my family to leave. The coaches, Robert and Jose; the students (kids and adults), you all have taught us well; and the parents of the kids we are privileged to have known you for the time we have. Thank you for the community you’ve created for us. It isn’t real hard to find another good school, but the people of Paragon set the bar high on finding another good jiu jitsu community! You’ll be missed!
City School: We’ve been part of this little community longer than we’ve been part of any other community while in Austin. It’s where Serena started and graduated elementary, and where the rest of the kids attended up until now. But City School has been more than a school for us. It has been a family. A family that has helped shape our children into the wonderful people they are. A family that constantly sees the best in our kids and helps them achieve it. A family that has been unconditionally welcoming. John, Vicki, and all the families from CS, we love you and you’ll be missed.
- Church at East: You are the manifestation of the dream Sarah and I had about the church 15 years ago. We are proud of who you are and how you serve this city. We love you. We can’t thank you enough for allowing us to pastor you over the past couple years. Your grace and generosity is humbling. We love you and thank you so much for letting us be a part of you. You are vision of what Jesus envisioned about his church. Thank you! To leaders we had the opportunity to serve with, Austin, Todd, Cody, Brandon, and Malsi. This church is in good hands. You are good pastors and just who this church needs. We love you all!
This is just a short list of the what will be missed here...but all is not lost, as I am sure we will be back, if for nothing more to visit. AND, we wait and travel with great anticipation for what lies ahead!
if you want a glimpse of the things we are anticipating, click HERE.