Monday, September 22, 2008

Where is my heart right now?

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, you will need to read it while listening to the song "This Is Home," by Switchfoot. Go down to my playlist and turn it on, then continue reading this post...I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I live 26.2 miles from my church. It isn't too far, and it's a gorgeous drive, because we live in the city, and the church is over the mountain range that seperates the city side of the mountains from the coastal (read:Pacific Ocean) side of the mountains. There is a cultural divide between these two that is known as hwy 17. While the physical distance between these two places I rally between is fairly short, the sociological distance is much greater. However, in a strange phenomenon, by my observation, at least, the people who live on the ocean side of the mountains seem to be the only ones who got the memo. Those of us who live on the city side of the mountain tend to think we are every bit as cool and informed and artistic and organic as those on the ocean side, but we are apparently so, so wrong. Now that I spend so much time on the ocean side, I would like to think that I am starting to understand. I know, for example,that when the city people come over, they tend to go to exactly 2 beaches, therefore crowding those two beaches. The two they have chosen as destinations de rigor are not even the best beaches. Maybe I'm not supposed to say that, though; it's probably better for the locals (and myself, actually) to keep the better beaches under wraps...our own little secret. Okay, I won't tell. I'll just scratch my head and roll my eyes along with the natives... For Shizzle.
I think that the ocean side locals see the city side people as conformists. To what do they see us as conforming to? To "the man," I'm sure. "Which man," you ask? I'm not sure, but I think it depends on who you ask, and I'm sure it's some sort of "Cultural Man," or "Thought Police Man." The fact that the city people would conform to such a man is what disgusts the coastal natives. And I hear them, I really do. I think it's because by my observations, the people who live along the coast tend to be a very creative, artistic set of bleeding hearts. They are very good at embracing and fully enhabiting who it is that God created them to be, and they make no apologies for doing so**. I love that. I have also never seen more dread locks and tattoo sleeves then when I am on the ocean side of the mountain.

Okay, I'm cofessing right here that I think dread locks are gross, and maybe that is my city conditioning, but I read an article once on what it takes to actually create dreadlocks, so I know that it involves not washing your hair for at least a month, and I know that things like cigarette ash and dirt get trapped in dreadlocks, and I like my people to be good smelling, I really do. But again, that's probably just my city side conditioning.

Tattoo sleeves are gorgeous*, though, like an individual walking around with stained glass window arms, and heaven help you if you have them, and you sit next to me, because I will want to ask you about each one, and I will want to hear the story behind it in detail. The thing about tattoo sleeves is that no two are alike, so there are many stories to tell about them. And then if we run out of tattoos to discuss, I will want to move on to your jewelry, and ask you about what each piece means to you, since each piece of jewelry also has a story, ranging from "This was my Great Great Grandmothers wedding band," to "I just saw this ring and thought it was cute, and I particularly like it on my index finger when I pair it with this bracelet." yes, I fully understand that.

But back to the beginning of this post: why are we driving over the mountains to church every week? Why not go to a church closer to our house? Because the first time we went to Vintage Faith Church, we felt like we were home. It's as if after a lifetime of living with wonderful adoptive parents, we finally found our birth parents, and therefore the links to our very DNA. It's as simple as that. This church is real and authentic, embracing the arts, but they do it without compromising. It's an amazing feat of balancing that I admire, and have not experienced as fully elsewhere. I love Vintage Faith Church on more levels then I can even begin to explain here.

So while I live in the city, I feel that my heart is divided in two. You see, I love living in the city, but I also love driving over the hill every chance I can. Is that okay? Will all of you coastal natives accept me warmly as a wanna-be one of your own? Because I love you, you know, and my church home is there, and my ocean home is there, even though my house home is (gasp) in the city.


*While I greatly admire the brave individuals who have committed a lifetime to tattoo sleeves, I am not courageous enough to embark on this venture myself. I am happy to admire the tattoo sleeves on those around me, and ask lots and lots of questions.

**The idea of embracing who you are and fully becoming that person is necessary if one is ever going to be able to embrace anyone else...because you really are only able to love others to the degree that you already love yourself. The bible says to "Love your neighbor as yourself," It is not only a command, but a statement of fact, for you really only can love your neighbor to the measure that you love yourself, and it is assumed that you already love yourself.
An example of this is our teaching pastor, Dan, who sports a blonde pompadour and blue jeans rolled up over doc martins. I love that he styles himself this way, because to me it is a beautiful example of a person fully embracing who God made him to be...and in my experience, I find that when I embrace myself thusly, not only do I love people more, but I love God more, too.


sara said...

I love your last comment about it making you love God more - there are a lot things around me that make me really LOVE Him more!!

I am with you on living in the CITY. I am not about to move outside of city limits so I can enjoy all it has to offer, when I can just DRIVE there anytime I want to!! I really like the Starbucks & Chik-Fil-A right up the road form my house....AND, to top it off - right now I get to cut across an open pasture to get to church - about 7 minutes - until I get caught by the Police!!! Oh, these are wonderful times, aren't they??

vic-a-la said...

our side will love you as a local (does that mean i get to be a "local" now? how many years does it take to claim the title?) as long as you don't go to those 2 beaches, admire our tattoos, don't drive 10 miles an hour over 17 in the fast lane, and embrace a make-up free, hair goop free lifestyle as much as you are able while here (preferably in flip flops). i on the other hand, will love you regardless :-). i love my home too!

sarah said...

we loved you guys the moment you came! i am glad you drive the 26 miles you do to come to Vintage. I know what it is like being the city girl-I grew up on East Side San Jo (wha what?!?!) and married into being an ocean local :).

But really, the fact that you know more than 2 beaches (and hang out at the others!), drive a normal speed, don't use "hella" as your main adjective and don't bust out ghetto booty music outside your Mitsubishi Eclipse all the way over 17 earns the respect of the locals. But what does that really matter in the end? Although i don't miss living in the valley, there's one thing for sure--although we have fun shopping here--nothing beats having 5 malls in one area like SJ. I truly visit SJ just for the shopping (and the occasional visit to family).