Moving day today. I finished up my pastoral residency in Minnesota.
I think of the places where I’ve lived. Columbus, Ohio, my hometown. The place that will always be home.
Bowling Green, Ohio, where I went to college and had some of the greatest times of my life. So much of who I am today I attribute to my time in college.
Deerfield, Illinois for seminary, just outside of Chicago, one of the greatest cities in the world. Even though I was there for four years, I still feel like I barely scratched the surface on all Chicago had to offer.
Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Beautiful part of a beautiful state. Perhaps more than any of these other cities, Fergus Falls felt the most like an adventure when I moved there.
Moving by myself hundreds of miles away to a town that I had never heard of until about three months before I moved there. When I told people I was moving to Minnesota, the response was always “MINNESOTA?! It’s so cold there!”
The legends were true. It was cold. (Although not as much snow as you’d probably think). Although it was also fitting that as we packed up our last things into the truck, I spent my last few hours in windy, sub-zero temperatures. Felt like it was my final exam as a Minnesotan.
It was the smallest place I’d ever lived, but it never really felt like that small of a town to me. I always thought there was so much to do. When I first moved there, I had just gotten into photography. On my days off, I’d find a forest in a different part of the state, drive there, taking pictures all along the way. I’d spend hours just taking pictures. Sometimes on a nice night, I’d go out and take pictures for a couple hours around town. Those are honestly some of the greatest times I had in Minnesota. I loved it. The county had over a thousand lakes. But the sunsets were just as awesome over the farmland.
It was love at first sight. I always thought the area was breathtaking.
It was the first place where I lived with my wife after getting married. She wasn’t from Fergus Falls either. But was just as enamored with the area when she moved there too. It was the first place we lived after getting married.
As I think of all of the art things about the places where I’ve lived, more than anything, the things I enjoy most about these places is the people and the relationships. Everywhere I’ve lived I’ve loved. Because everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve met a lot of people I loved.
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Josh Benner has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.
Categories: My Life