If you’re determined to see Albany as a crap city you’re going to see Albany as a crap city. You’re going to go work at your crap job with your crap coworkers and stay at your crap house all weekend because there’s nothing to do in this crap city. What a miserable life.
You can see the potential that Albany has. You can see how good so many of the people are. You can try to make a difference in this small little corner of the world by volunteering or offering something new for the city or doing something nice for someone or giving local businesses your support. You can find something new to love about Albany by driving the dirt roads at sunset or visiting a locally owned restaurant or shopping at a locally owned store or attending an event downtown or going to a high school football game or meeting a new group of people.
See, there’s this thing called confirmation bias – “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.” AKA, if I believe something – like Albany sucks – I’m going to look for things to support that belief. I’m going to get off on looking at articles talking about where Albany is ranked in crime and poverty. I’m going to tune my dial into groups that “raise awareness” of the criminal activity in Albany. I’m going to attribute all of my problems with my career, relationships, and self to Albany.
This is not to say that there isn’t crime or poverty in Albany. This is not to say that terrible things haven’t happened here. Just recently there have been multiple senseless deaths. There have been natural disasters. Every day I see children in therapy who have been traumatized in every way imaginable. I’m not asking you to put blinders on. I’m not asking you to ignore the tragedies around us. Nope. Quite the opposite. Things can and should be acknowledged. This city can and should be improved. And who better to improve it than us?
Just like a relationship, if you focus on what you dislike, those things get amplified. If you want to make a relationship work, focus on things you love and try to find new things to love.
Pour love into it and you’ll get love out of it.
Jesus is all about rebirth and renewal and regeneration and bringing heaven to earth. As a follower of Jesus, shouldn’t that be my MO? Shouldn’t I pour love into this city? Shouldn’t I try to bring what parts I can back to life? Shouldn’t I speak light into it?
It’s easy to slide down the slope of misery.
It’s easy to join others who get off on being miserable and who love to convince others to be miserable as well.
It’s easy to share all of the articles. Albany ranked as 4th poorest in the nation. Albany ranked 7th worst city to live in. Albany ranked as the 8th most dangerous city in Georgia.
It’s easy to follow groups that steadily pump out photos, videos, and posts about people being shot, beaten, and robbed in Albany.
It’s easy to sit on our couch and bitch and post and share and grumble.
It’s easy to complain. Complain. Complain.
It’s harder to see the good.
It’s harder to be the good.
It’s harder to actively look for whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
It’s harder to stop someone when they want to bitch about Albany and offer up a conversation about actions that can be taken to help Albany.
It’s harder to put our phone down and go and do.
It’s harder to refuse to let fear win.
It’s harder to look at all the poverty and crime and need and heartbreak and run into it instead of away from it.
It takes courage to have hope.
Albany can be the Crap Life City or it can be the Good Life City. A city is not inherently good or bad. You make it one or the other.