Sweet Home Chicago

by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's Ministries & All Things Bright & Beautiful 

"It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them." - Mark Twain, 1883  

As we begin our outdoor summer liturgies on June 5th, the Chuck Webb Band will be playing the soulful music of Memphis. And the song I am most excited about isn't Proud Mary which they will be doing: it is Sweet Home Chicago.

Since Cary and I moved here in 1978, we have loved being residents of Chicago. After eight years in Lincoln Park and now 30 years in this community, I can't imagine living anywhere else. When we made the decision to leave Iowa, my family was very nervous about us leaving the state where we were both born and raised.

Their perception of Chicago was that it was a very dangerous and unfriendly city. We had been here on enough visits to know it was quite the opposite. It didn't take them long to figure out that Chicago is a great place to visit. Going to major theatrical productions, fabulous museums, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the obligatory Cubs game each summer, and so much more. We have created some amazing memories. Truthfully, the hardest thing to get used to wasn't the traffic or the throngs of people. It was the way directions were given when we lived in the city. As an example: "go to 300 North and 400 West". NOT the vernacular I was accustomed to in Dubuque, Iowa and it drove me nuts. Once I got the hang of the grid configuration, it made all the sense in the world. I still consider it the easiest metropolitan city to navigate. Even after moving to this suburb, I love driving into the city, and we still enjoy all it has to offer.

I've had the extraordinary opportunity to travel a bit and while far off places are wonderfully exciting to visit, there is nothing like coming home - to sweet home, Chicago! Both of our girls were born at the old Prentice Hospital. It's torn down now, but it was an iconic structure. I marvel at the continually changing landscape of the skyline.

 We had not been out on the lake for quite some time and when we  went out last summer, it was so fun to see how many new structures there were. We'll be doing some more traveling this summer where we'll visit little villages, see lots of old churches, and probably have a glass of wine or two. And I know upon our return, Chicago will be just as sweet as it has always been. And while the sanctuary here at Holy Comforter will not be as grandiose as some of the duomos we'll see, it will be just as welcome a site. The tiny villages we'll see will have their charm, and yet there will not be the sense of community that I feel here. Because this is home. So wherever you wander or roam this summer, please come home to us. We'll be here. Sweet Home Holy Comforter.