Cities of a Thousand Cranes

Here in Hong Kong, and especially back in Shanghai, there is always construction going on. Down most streets and on many corners you’ll find areas blocked off, crews demolishing something or other and building something new. It’s common to see sparks flickering like phoenix down, brief flares descending from dozens of stories up as workers tirelessly weld in skeleton buildings. The noise and the motion is everywhere. In a way, it is frustrating, because none of it can be done immediately; there is only to wait. The end goal is clear – you know there will be a new, beautiful building, after an old one is refreshed or renovated or demolished and rebuilt. It’s disillusioning, when you know so clearly what will be, in all its grandeur, to then bring your eyes down from the clouds and see what is, the whole grueling process of it all, and know that the only thing that will push the process along is to get in another day of work and accept that it will take time. The problem with waiting, at least if you are like me, is that all you can do is think. This type of thinking, the kind I do when waiting impatiently, is seldom of great benefit. It usually just reflects my impatience and inability to do anything, frustration that I can do nothing to bring morning except to wait calmly through the many, many hours of the night. Sometimes this thinking can become dangerous, because it will lead to the desire to hasten the process, which means cutting corners and finding solutions which are obviously not quality and not going to last and not beneficial.

It is pleasant to watch as the skyline changes every few months in these cities which live and grow. It is a reminder that growth comes, even if not on our desired, Hong Kong- or New York- or Fast Food-minute timing, for those who hope, and wait, and expect. We get told a lot to wait, to be still, to watch; while this does not mean to do nothing (I hope you recognize how badly I want to use that Jackie Chan quote again), it does require us to accept the process, and then to embrace the process, and even, eventually, to rejoice and glory in it, as a friend recently helped me to understand. For what else is there in which to rejoice, but in the reconstruction, the renovation, the Regeneration of the world, of our souls? It is the creating of the stage (both in the world and in our hearts) on which the beauty of God will be, and is, put on display!

The skyline is always changing in the City of God. However, we aren’t to just admire the view; buildings are built from the ground up, and cities begin in the streets.


One response to “Cities of a Thousand Cranes”

  1. Enjoy the different kind of city!

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