Spring Time in Fresno
February 24, 2007
I moved to Fresno in 1996. For years I had nurtured a bad attitude about the city and the entire Central
Valley. I had openly and blatantly declared that I would never
move here. As a man of God, I go where God sends me - anywhere but Fresno. Then, it happened. I was contacted by a church in
As life sometimes happens - and life does happen - I could not avoid considering the "call." So, I packed up the family and we drove to Fresno one Sunday afternoon in January.
We assumed we'd be able to ascertain the will of God with a drive-by look-see. But it was January. In January it is easy to mistake a bad disposition for the voice of God.
January has to be the bleakest, most depressingly dismal month to be in Fresno. December is cold and dreary, but at least there are Christmas lights to disguise the obvious.
At least, that is how I used to think - and I am a "bloom where you are planted" sort of guy.
Leave it to reality to expose deep bigotry.
Anyway, that was our experience. We drove to the church that was considering me and there were bars on the windows and doors. The paint was faded. There was a parking lot full of cars and they were behind a closed and locked gate. Since then, the bars have since been removed, but they sort of set the tone for me and reinforced my prejudices.
There is a long and personal story of my journey to a changed heart and mind - and it is a good one - but the point of the story today is that I made up my mind to come, accepted the church's call, and drove down in March from the Bay Area to make arrangements for my April move.
March - comes right after February. March in Fresnowas created to convince people to live here. I started smelling honey suckle everywhere and later found out it was the scent of orange blossoms. Everything was starting to bloom. You could see the majestic mountains. The weather was delightful. I was profoundly grateful that I had been able to overcome my anti-Fresno bias just to experience Spring in the Central Valley.
And I have been grateful ever since.
God is pretty smart. He has a way of directing our lives in spite of ourselves sometimes. I cringe to think of the arbitrary limits I sometimes impose upon Him and upon myself.
Someone once told me that God made babies cute so that you would still love them when they became teenagers. I don't know about that, but I do love Fresno.
I love so much about it and the people. There is very little that I do not love. Maybe it is about being at home. Maybe it is about something else. But whatever it is about, I see the first signs of Spring and I love it.