August 5th, 2011. That was the day I packed up my first little car with all of my possessions, kissed my family farewell, and made the big move out of my childhood home to explore new life in Orlando. I had no idea how much I would come to love this city, or how much it would change me.
It’s hard to believe it’s been four years already, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve been here forever. I don’t think a year will ever pass that I won’t celebrate this day, and commit to remember the significance it has held. Seems sort of silly maybe, but I think it’s important to hold onto little things like that, not to let them slip from your memory. I think it keeps you grateful.
For those of you who might not have much experience in Orlando other than times spent at one of Mickey’s many parks, or fighting your way through the crowded and flashy International Drive, I’m here to tell you (along with every other Orlando resident) that this place is so much more than that. This city has a name, it has a heartbeat.
It’s absolutely no accident that this place is known as The City Beautiful. Beauty is everywhere. It’s in the pulsing of the city streets when the creatives come out to put on a show, or any evening you get to catch the sun going down over one of the many lakes. It’s within the walls of a warm coffee shop where the coffee buzzes through your veins, and pursuing something greater is the point. But mostly, beauty is within the people. The people that call this place home are incredible. Humble world-changers who are passionate, curious, creative, and 100% community-focused. Each of them is living out a beautiful story.
I’m so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to build a home here, and that the Lord has chosen this place to hold a piece of my story. There is so much more I could say, but we’d be here forever, and I know that over time the list will only grow longer. So for now I’ll just keep it short. Thank you to everyone who’s helped make this place a home, you are deeply cherished. And I look forward to making many more memories in this place.