With the help of Slingshot's cold brew, I made the 11 hour trek to Michigan this summer. While I was there, I stayed with friends and my time couldn't have been better. A few years ago, Detroit was home for me and became part of my story. Thus, I have mixed feelings about Michigan because of past heartache peppered with joy and laughter, so being able to see my old stomping grounds with the eyes of a new heart was such a beautiful gift.
The week was a mix of work and play. During my down time, I was able to share life with friends and family. A good friend of mine has a heart the size of a basketball for Detroit. So, when she offered to give me a tour of the once thriving city, I jumped at the opportunity to see its heart and beauty that I knew existed.
First we stopped at an old parish in Detroit. When I stepped out of the car a blanket of silence fell over me and I stood there in awe of the structure that was before me. Little did I know what I would find and learn when we walked through the threshold into a place where organs and voices once bounced from wall to wall.
The hallway leading into the cathedral was dark and the lonely sound of water dripped from the ceiling. When we turned the corner, my mouth dropped and my heart stood still the moment my eyes fell upon what was left of the parish. Giant holes spread across the ceiling. Bricks and stones lay shattered across the floor. The columns were barely hanging on and refusing to let go. The walls were covered with graffiti. I walked onto the altar to find original, colorful tile that was surprisingly still intact. The dust of destruction could not cover the beauty of that tile. I began to walk down the aisle and was struck by a thought. I turned around and gazed at the altar again as the sun broke through the glass of the main window.
In that moment I saw the beauty that surrounded me. I realized that the brokenness in that cathedral was much like the brokenness in our own lives. I thought to myself, "There is so much beauty waiting to be uncovered from all of this." Oftentimes, we focus on the mess in our lives and do not allow the beauty to break through even if it's as small as the colorful tile left in the Detroit parish. For every negative situation in our lives there is a wealth of positive that overpowers.
There is always a strong, positive path that lies ahead of us. We just have to open our eyes to see it. Like the vibrant past of vast parish and Detroit, we all have a vibrant story that lets us live beautifully in the present moment. If we allow ourselves to see the beautiful tiles that are in our lives, we can uncover something so grand that is waiting for us under the ruble.
After exploring that day, I embraced the city of Detroit as a place of uncharted beauty. We sat at Rock City Café after our excursion, and I smiled thinking about how lucky I was to experience something so meaningful and powerful. I learned an important lesson that day. No matter your past - whether it was marred with tears or flavored with joy - your present is wonderful, and your future is yours to build.
I am no longer tied to the past that tainted my view of this magnificent state. I am simply taking the glorious tiles that are left and building new relationships, strengthening current relationships, and fulfilling a passion that runs deep within. I encourage you to do the same. See shattered walls as an opportunity to build something stronger and more meaningful. And, guess what? You can start today.