Wednesday, August 17, 2011

bucuresti surprises me again

Something about Bucuresti: I haven't once seen a really beautiful sunset. It may just be that all the blocs are in the way or that I'm not looking. But this city has done me one better. The thing about blocs on top of blocs is that it means windows on top of windows. And this evening walking home, the bloc facing me looked like it had been lit on fire. Ten stories of bright, blazing orange. And so it seems that anything can reflect beauty, even the grimy side of a Communist bloc.

Above it were hundreds and hundreds of birds. It's still hot here, but I wondered if they were flying south for the winter. My best guess is that the direction they were going was north-west and I wonder now where they were headed. They just kept coming. And so I walked below them, face turned to the sky under the warm orange glow.

Swing Life Away was playing on my iPod. It's just a simple 90s song but I love it so much. A few lyrics:

I've been here so long, I think that it's time to move
The winter's so cold, summer's over too soon
Let's pack our bags and settle down where palm trees grow

But I don't want to move yet, not out of Romania, I mean. I've spent my whole life moving, picking up and starting again. Some new city where Fall is different, some new country where the language is not my own. And I love it. I hope this isn't the last place I live. But watching those birds--I didn't envy them, not exactly anyway. I love doing what they do, look forward to doing what they do, but for everything this city is, this country, its dirt and grime and life-worn people, I am content here. This is where I'm supposed to be right now. It's a good feeling.

The metaphors reach around. Most anyone who can leaves this place. They go to Spain or Italy or the States. Anywhere but here. Not like the birds. And it isn't perfect here. It's a hard, heavy place. But on the bus today God of this City started playing in my headphones and, surrounded by those same threadbare people, it meant something fuller than it ever has before, even having thought through this something like a year ago.

For greater things are yet to come
Greater things are still to be done in this city

I believe that. I see it already. And aren't we all just vessels anyway? Broken, perhaps, some of us pieced back together and filled with a God who restores and redeems. There's the capacity for so much here. Like the filthy side of a bloc, one of thousands here, but the funny thing is they serve as really good reflectors. Who knew?

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