Last week my wife and I took a walk through Arana Gulch, down from our home to the Lighthouse. It’s a beautiful walk. As we made our way toward the lighthouse we had to jump out of the way to avoid a young dude screaming up the pedestrian trail way too fast on his Vespa. As he swerved to avoid us, he hit the gravel and then went down hard with his Vespa landing on his ankle. Aleta and I immediately ran over to help him and pull the Vespa off of him. He was in a hurry, and the more we tried to engage him, the more he seemed to be on something – something that probably kept him from feeling any pain in his ankle that I’m absolutely sure he injured pretty seriously. As he was making his way onto his Vespa to get out of there, a kind middle-aged woman, who had been sunning herself on a nearby bench also came over to help. She was very kind, but also very marked on her face by the tell-tale signs of meth addiction. The guy left on his Vespa, and the woman shrunk away back to her bench and Aleta and I both were struck by the brokenness of the people in our city.
Literally within seconds of that experience we ran into a new acquaintance named Barrett who is a Christian, and is a part of a new business endeavor in our city called Bottleneck Solutions. The guys at Bottleneck solutions brew cold brew coffee and other things as a means of bringing God’s beauty into the business community of our city. He is a light of beauty and grace in our city. Then as we made our way to the beach we saw a bunch of groomsmen setting up for a beautiful beach wedding at Seabright beach. We actually stopped to say hi to the groom, and found out that he is a beautiful person who serves the elderly in our community as a nurse at Dominican Oaks rest home. Following that we ran into Mike LaMarche a friend from our church and we had the most enjoyable chat about the goodness of God, and how kind God is to allow us to live in such a beautiful place.
After that entire experience I was left wondering a few things. Is Santa Cruz broken? Clearly the answer is yes. Is Santa Cruz beautiful? Clearly the answer is also yes. This is the tension of anyone who follows Jesus, the ultimate beautifier of everything. We’re all placed by God into cities, families, businesses, and industries that are both broken and beautiful to varying degrees. We’ve been put into these places to weep over the brokenness, and then work towards beauty in the power of Christ, aiming towards the goal that beauty wins out over the brokenness.