Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Anniversary, Race, & Chicago

I was on vacation last week, which is why I did not write anything on my blog. I did some work around the house the first few days, but then took Monique on a short trip to one of our favorite cities in the world. Without a doubt, the highlight of my vacation was this trip to Chicago with my wonderful wife and some good friends from our church. Here we are in front of Buckingham Fountain:

The purpose of our trip was to participate (I'd say 'run' but we didn't really 'run') in the Great Urban Race. If you have ever watched the Amazing Race, I'd say it is much like that except for only in one city. At the end of last year, we were talking with our friends, Steve & Sandy, about this race and they said they had never been to Chicago and wanted to participate in it. While racing is not normally in our vocabulary, we wanted to do it with them (plus, he said he wanted to hit all the good Chicago food places . . . who could resist that?).

16th Anniversary
Getting out of town for the race was an easy decision once we learned it took place the day after our 16th anniversary. It is hard to believe that we have been married that long. Sixteen years. It was here in Chicago that we first met. I was a student at Moody Bible Institute, she was a Wheaton College girl. We met at the best place to meet someone, a church. While our "romance" didn't start until either of us were no longer in school, our friendship began right away. 

Even after sixteen years, I am still getting to know this woman. Her example of forgiveness marvels me. I know I mess things up all the time with her. I say things too harshly. I am selfish. I am quick to think of myself. And she quietly goes about her business, letting go of my sins in the ways of Jesus Christ. She truly is a great woman and I love her very much.

The Great Urban Race
Even though we did not "run", the race was way more difficult than I anticipated it being. It was really spread out. We calculated it by the end of the day, we walked about 9 miles (plus another 2-3 after the race to get pizza and then to Navy Pier for fireworks). It was an exhausting day. 

At the beginning of the race, you are given a clues that will help you figure out the 12 locations around the city in which you need to go. At each location, there is an obstacle you have to complete to get credit for it. There was everything from Corn Hole to Parkour to imitating statues. 

If I were to design the course, I would have the locations closer together with more difficult challenges at each location. But it was still fun and we were still smiling after the race was completed. While we have never done anything like this before, it certainly would be fun to do it again.

It is truly one of my favorite cities to visit. The food is the best around, and trust me, we did our best to eat as much of it as possible. It's probably a good thing that we walked over ten miles everyday there, for it gave us excuses to eat lots of pizza and beef. 

After the race on Saturday night, Monique and I went on a boat ride to watch the fireworks. As we witnessed the city at night lit up in all of its glory. It was amazing. And then to sit on the water on a boat and watch the fireworks was amazing as well. There are not many things like it in the world I have experienced.

As we sat on that boat, I began to marvel at the ingenuity of mankind. Sinful, fallen man created all of this. The architecture is superb. The lights. The buildings. As I thought of this, my mind quickly raced toward what the Great City of God is going to be like. If this is what sinful, fallen, imperfect man can come up with, what will a perfect, Holy, infinite God create in His city? It is described as "having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal" (Revelation 21:11). I can't wait to see what God has in store for those who know Jesus Christ.

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