Big City, Big Hearts

st louis park

I’m going to take a small detour from my normal blog post subject matter and say something that is living proudly in my heart today… 

Thank you. Thank you all for being a part of this city and for surviving together. For maintaining its livelihood and sharing its pain. For growing as one, standing side-by-side, creating a livable environment for our children and a dignified locale for our families. For giving me a place to call home, spoken with pride, satisfaction and even a little conceit.

I live in St. Louis Park. The school children in our community have had a rough couple of years – losing Carly to flu complications, Mohamed and Haysem to that frightening landslide, Abdullahi to his middle school swimming pool, and the horrible carful that ended up in the holding pond this past November. Today I went for a walk around the neighborhood, and once again, just as I have so many times in the past two years, I see orange balloons. They are strung to the high school, on stop signs and mailboxes, to the front doors of local businesses, and of course on individual residences. My heart aches for the family of Evan McManus on this day, who is missing in Colorado with his father Damian. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain they are feeling this day. These orange balloons are for him. 

As my heart starts to sink in sadness, I notice those balloons again. They are a simple gesture, one that could even go unnoticed to a passerby. They don’t heal breaking hearts or rewind tragic incidences. I sincerely wish they did.

Instead though, they represent unity.

They symbolize empathy.

They personify community.

And what a blessing to have such a community.

People could say we are merely small fish in a giant ocean, rushing down highways and avoiding eye contact. No matter the size of the population though, hearts are hearts and people are people, and that is all you need to be a compassionate community. There is so much more to our neighborhoods than sharing a cup of flour or dog-sitting for a weekend. Yes, we are connected by location, but it doesn’t stop there. We share streets, stories, losses, gains, alleyways, heartache, congratulations and backyards.

During the remainder of my walk, I intentionally greeted strangers, waved at cars and pet some neighbor dogs. When I arrived home, I hugged my children. We are blessed to be surrounded by such love. By so many hearts that genuinely care.

You all make up this diverse and exceptional, albeit large and chaotic, city. “Minnesota Nice” isn’t just an expression, it’s a way of life, and I love it!

So…from the bottom of my heart, thank you. For simply being HERE.

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  • Julie Nordin
    04/14/2014 at 8:38 pm

    Beautifully said Nicki.

  • Nicki
    04/14/2014 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks, my dear Juliet.