The Third Round

“Hi. I’m Cameron. I’m from Georgia.”

When I lived in Louisiana, it’s how I introduced myself. I immediately wanted people to know that I was not from there, I did not understand all the things they said. I would need someone to explain things.

So hi. I’m Cameron. I’m from Georgia.

I’m not telling you this to get some explanation-I’m telling you this because the weather here, particularly where I live, has been awful. The National Weather Service is calling it a Particularly Dangerous Situation. The Walmart 12 miles away from my house had its roof ripped off yesterday. Things are kind of scary. I’m sitting in my house and all I know is things are bad (and also that the Falcons are winning, which is exciting even though I don’t care about the NFL).

I also know I’m terrified. People around me have luckily survived, but there is damage. It’s bad. And I’m thankful I live at home with my parents, and I’m not stuck in a dorm for this. I think I’d cry.

But this morning, in a brief reprieve from the weather, we took the opportunity to go to church. My mom didn’t want to. My sister didn’t want to. But I was determined. I’m glad I was, because during the service I was reminded today that He truly is a good, good Father. That He’s taking care of us, even through all of the uncertainty happening. That no person will ever be in control, only Him. What a comfort. He alone is in control here. And because He is a good Father, He will take care of us.

As the third round of tornado weather sweeps through, it’s a thought I’ll be repeating in my head. I’m scared right now, but I am so blessed. My family is alive. Our house and cars have sustained no damage. We still have power and water.

To quote the great Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, “Happiness (and hope) can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Loving This City

I see a really broken city around me, even though it’s not a city you’ll hear about on the news that much. See, I live in Macon. And around here, it’s got a nasty reputation.

You might be wondering how a city can have a reputation for being bad but not make national news. I don’t know. In the past year alone, some of the major news stories include:

  • a woman stabbing her boyfriend with a dog food bowl shard at the Waffle House (where’s @floridaman when you need him)
  • several police officers shot and killed
  • at least one person dying almost every single day
  • several house fires, many of which are suspected arson

That’s not even all of them. Or very many specifics (but if you google this place, it’s got a “very high” crime rate). And that’s just crime. It’s not really taking into account all the homelessness, the poverty rates, the unemployment rates. Macon is what you might call a broken city, and people hate it.

Honestly, I used to be one of those people. I moved 540 miles away from it and tried to shake away my past. “I’m from Georgia,” I’d say, but I’d never speak about Macon except with my closest friends. But I’ve been learning something since I’ve been put back in this broken city: the only way we will ever fix Macon is if we start loving it. How did Jesus heal people and places and situations and even my heart? With love. Undying, unfailing, would do anything for it love. Not running away. Not getting out. And even though money would certainly help improve some of the situations, money is not going to heal this city. Just love.

And to love a city, you’ve got to really feel a burden for it. You’ve got to hurt in your heart about how broken it is. You’ve got to feel passion and compassion. Loving is not passive. Loving is active. Loving a whole city is real active. You’ve got to really feel for it.

I’m not perfect at this yet. I’m not even good, really. But I’m trying my absolute hardest, and every day my love for Macon is growing. Even the other day, when my dad said “What could you expect, he’s from Macon?” I got a little offended.

I’m from Macon. It’s my home. And I think I’m turning out okay.

I’m from Macon. I used to cringe when I said that. But now I’m a little proud.

I’m from Macon. I’m learning to love it. And I think if we all could, maybe Macon would be the shining jewel it used to be.