The Chicago Files: Finding Home in a New City

Labyrinth in Nichols Park

Now that I’ve officially taken up residence in Chicago I hope to write about my experiences from time to time.  I’ll label them all “The Chicago Files” for easy reference.


3 months ago I graduated from the Wake Forest University School of Divinity with a lot of mixed feelings.  I was excited that I had earned the Master of Divinity Degree but it was also no secret that I was terrified of what that meant for my life.  With all the changes going on around me I was going to need to also pickup life in North Carolina, where I’d lived all my life, and move.  I was excited about how many new opportunities Chicago would offer me:  new friends, the chance to explore the ELCA National office, a year imbued with Lutheran studies to supplement my degree and so much more, yet I couldn’t help but feel like part of my life was ending, a part that I cherish, so that a new part could start.

Well I made the move yesterday morning.  It was tough, for sure.  But, I was also able to meet people that I had been communicating with for months online and will continue to do so as more and more people move in for the school year in the coming weeks.  Today I got out of the apartment to explore Hyde Park, the Chicago neighborhood where I live.  At a friend’s recommendation I came across a park about 2 blocks or so from my apartment with the recommendation of good places to set up my hammock when it arrives later this week.  I decided to check it out.

I went and found the perfect spot for my hammock just as I was told I would, but what else I found made my heart sing.  There next to the swing set partially obscured by grass growing through the pavement was a Labyrinth.  Anyone who’s seen me at Wake Div throughout the years knows that whenever there is an opportunity to walk the Labyrinth I take it.  I find the meditations offered there, learned from Wake Div’s Chris Copeland, powerfully meaningful and what better time to have an intentional Labyrinth walk than my first full day in a new city? As I walked the Labyrinth realized that my life in NC wasn’t ending, that instead it was connecting here at this place, at this time.  I wasn’t starting a new journey so much as continuing an old one in a new place and that brought me peace about this move for the first time in over a year.

Will I still have hard times while out here?  Most definitely.  I don’t think I ever would’ve been ready to move.  I was happy where I was but without this opportunity I may never have had the chance to get to know a new city filled with new stories and experiences. It’s time to be an active participant in this experience. I feel the love and strength of Wake Div behind me and the sheer possibility of the experiences that lay ahead. Maybe, just maybe, I can do this.


“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.” — Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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