I live in a college university small city and I love living here. Carbondale, Illinois, home of Southern Illinois University, is where I bum around. I moved to the Carbondale countryside with my parents and brother when I was seventeen years of age. Before the move I lived in a small village about twenty minutes away named Elkville. Moving to Carbondale was good for my family and I. A great deal of our time was already spent in this university small city.
An aspect of Carbondale I absolutely love is that, because of SIUC, people from all over the world come here to attain a college degree. I get to meet and make friends with people from different cultures and from places I’ve never traveled. Once a good friend told me that he’s never seen me meet a stranger. I certainly took the compliment to heart! As a follower of Christ other people are important to me. Loving others is the way to be a good neighbor. It doesn’t matter whether these neighbors look like me or come from Carbondale or Elkville, Illinois. These neighbors are welcome in my life as my friends. I have much to learn and enjoy from them. Perhaps they learn something new from me as well. Carbondale is unique within Southern Illinois because it holds the world within its city limits.
I don’t want a wall to keep my future friends from getting to Carbondale and I don’t want their flights from their countries cancelled. It’s not like the Christ I serve to exclude people. I desire to be like the Good Samaritan from one of Jesus’ most famous parables.
I have pride in this city I love and in its culture of varying cultures. I have friends everywhere I go. A lot of them aren’t from here and there’s a good chance they won’t stay after their college careers are over. However, I’m blessed to meet them and have them in my life for a season. And I’m honored that they would call me their friend.