Two Years in Detroit

Detroit.  A city of blight, bankruptcy, crime, corruption, creativity, beauty, hope and amazing people.  We’ve had a front row seat for Detroit’s comeback for two years now. We love it here.  

And yet our contribution to the re-birth of this city hasn’t looked like I thought it would when we first became Detroit residents.

Over the years you’ve known me to be a huge advocate for action.  “Be a mentor! Send kids to camp! It’s your move!”

I still believe all those things.  But for the past six months, Josh and I have not been serving with a non-profit or local church in any official capacity.  It wasn’t even an intentional decision–things just sort of ended up this way for this season.

As we spend these days getting know and love the people here without the confines of committees or outreach events, it has started to hit home that our biggest contribution to this city might be simply that we’re raising a family here.

We’re walking to the grocery store.

We’re taking our boys to the park and chatting with parents and grandparents about school options.

We’re throwing Halloween parties and baby showers and Christmas Eve brunch.

We’re receiving used clothes and toys and books from neighbors.

We’re driving kids to youth group.

We’re cheering on marathoners.

We’re changing diapers.  Lots of diapers.

We’re in the thick of it with other families.

My favorite Detroit moment happened a few months ago when our usually quiet 12-year-old friend walked into our side door beaming.  He proudly declared that he could now ride a bike (thanks, Josh)!  In fact, he spent the day telling every person he saw of his new skill.

It was enough to convince me that the smallest contributions to this city just might be the biggest.IMG_5553
As we move into the next two years of life in the D, I promise to fix my busted camera lens and capture more of the beauty.  For now, I’ll leave you with some iPhone snapshots of our Detroit.
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Houses all around us are being returned to historic splendor.  Our house will be finished just in time to start fixing everything again.  In the meantime, come visit us.  We have a third floor apartment ready for short or long-term guests (Rachel and Makayla moved up the street to a bigger place).
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Our favorite place- Belle Isle- is getting cleaned up. The aquarium has re-opened and new swings are found every playground.
IMG_0612Overnight, new bike lanes pop up.IMG_9764
The Detroit River Front has a new splash pad, more walking paths and art exhibits. IMG_5541IMG_9750
Our parks are being mowed and people are gathering at live stages and urban beaches.
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 IMG_0149The fountains all around the city have been turned back on.

Come enjoy it with us.

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