Mike accepted a job offer with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, last Tuesday, August 7th. That morning I jotted down this top ten list of things I will miss about Chicago.
– Public Transportation: In our 8 years here, half of which as a family of 4, we have been able to live with only one car. Yes, Mike has had to be intimately and uncomfortably close to millions of sweaty commuters on the blue line, but it has been nice being green.
– Shopping: The Magnificent Mile is like a dear old friend. When parking and tourists seem like too much, the malls are great, too. I never understood why there were so many outdoor malls in a place with a 9-month winter, but at least there are a ton of great stores to choose from.
– Lake Michigan: The beach. The beautiful shimmering waters. The cheesy boat tours that give you the breath-taking skyline. It’s lovely.
– Architecture: There is no better skyline than Chi-town’s. The buildings are beautiful. The architectural tours (especially on a boat with a bar) are worth being a tourist for a day.
– Museums: There are so many and they all have a free day some time in the year. Sure, the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis is better than our little Children’s Museum on Navy Pier, but we also have the Field, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium to visit here. The kids have loved every single one of them, including my favorite, the Art Institute.
– Theater: Musicals, plays, opera, ballet. I have loved them all. The scene is alive and well.
– Restaurants: Chicago is home to what has been the top restaurant in the country (top ten in the entire world) as well as so many other culinary treasures! We love being able to try a new place every time and walk (or roll) away very happy.
– Our neighborhood: Yes, I love our home (I wrote that semi-drama-queen entry when we knew we were going to sell. It was a painful time for me, too painful to share publicly back then.), but the neighborhood makes it. Coming from a high-rise condo where we only really knew our doormen, it was a welcome change to come to a true community of neighbors. We have loved so many of them, such friendly, great people and their kids whom my boys have loved dearly. This includes the wonderful Prescott School community. Hartland Park, we Hart you!
– New Community Covenant Church: Eight years ago, Mike and I had a short list of churches to check out. After our first 3, I remember wishing God would make it obvious when it felt so uncertain. Then our 4th was NCCC. It was more than obvious. At our first visit, we knew we were home. It has been home ever since. Granted, there is no perfect church. However, I already have prepared myself that we will never find another church like it. I just need to be open to another experience. But I have cherished being a part of such a truly diverse, justice-minded, community-loving, urban fellowship with a preacher who powerfully and uncomfortably challenges us every week with Gospel-drenched truth and love. Yesterday was the first Sunday there when I knew our time was limited. It was a time of grief as well as celebration. Baby Zoe was dedicated. Precious Zoe whom we have prayed and cried for before she was even conceived. And the other 3 beautiful babies all of different races just gave a picture of heaven to me. Our church has been our family.
– The People: Really, where do I begin? Over the last eight years we have become friends with so many outstanding people who have loved, laughed, drank, and cried with us in every stage of life. We have especially felt the value of our precious community during this past year. 2012 has been the worst year in history for the Beckett family. It has been the most stressful, the hardest, the greatest amount of tears shed, painful, desperate, and faith-shaking for us. And it’s still not over yet. Upon looking back from where we stand now, we see the people who have brought us along through everything. We could not have survived without them. Every email, text, call, prayer, tear, toast, thought, and embrace has been a foundation for us to lean on in very shaky times. They have brought us tangible realizations of the faithfulness of God. Some we have known and built relationships with over eight long and beautiful years. Some we have just met recently yet have quickly taken root in our hearts. As much as we love all that the great city of Chicago has to offer, it pales in comparison to the people we’ve been blessed to call friends. It’s what tears our hearts the most to leave. YOU!