This is a picture of Edmonton’s skyline. When I came here 12 or 13 years ago (too lazy to calculate today), I fell in love with the City of Edmonton. I felt God called me here, and I had fallen in love with God, with my church, with the congregation of the church, with everything.
The city really called to me. There is something about Edmonton that has drawn me. In the summer, it is easier to assume what that something is, as the lush green of the river valley and much of the surrounding areas provides a much needed relief to eyes weary of the browns and greys of long winters. And truly, when I arrived here in early April, it was unusually warm – in fact, it was much nicer than where I lived in Michigan.
I came to Edmonton before the most recent economic boom. It reminded me very much of the Detroit area, being a city of more blue-collar wealth (to coin a phrase), sustained by the oil industry as it has been. But the pace of life here was much slower than the pace of life in the Detroit area. I remember impatiently waiting in a line of 0 people for several minutes at Tim Horton’s one day, which just simply would not happen where I came from. And I remember forcing myself to remember that I really sought after a slower pace.
Then the economic boom hit. And the pace picked up. Ever since, the price of homes has been astronomically high. Food prices have skyrocketed. I never thought I would see such things as $75 roasts! Sometimes I take pictures of packages of meat at the grocery store with the thought of sending them to my family in the states to garner sympathy cards or perhaps gift cards – so far, I have abstained, though. Rent controls are pretty much non-existent. Homelessness has increased and all the services surrounding that have experienced a much greater need. Violence on the streets has increased as far as I can tell. (I’ve participated in an outreach where we sort of get a feel for that kind of thing.) And frankly, having to drive through downtown on a regular basis, I’m not sure we needed a huge new stadium right in that area.
But regardless, I still have a love for Edmonton. I’ve been a part of at least two amazing (in different ways) church communities. I’ve had some very interesting jobs here in Edmonton, in both IT and ministry. I’ve lived in different parts of the metro Edmonton area – St. Albert, Castledowns and Blue Quill. I’ve completed two degrees here and have loved every minute of both those experiences. I live in a place where walks are beautiful and the people who live in the building I live in are extremely nice and great to get to know. I maintain friendships with those I first knew here in Edmonton. I have witnessed and experience extreme generosity of spirit and tangible goods. And I have been inspired by that generosity to a level of giving I did not anticipate in my own life. I’ve led a women’s ministry and a women’s outreach and been wowed by both experiences and the giving nature of women in Edmonton who give their time, finances and hearts to relationship building in and around the city in an effort to improve the lives of many who have had a bum start on life.
I have been blessed and I am grateful for this city and every time I view the skyline, these things come to mind.