Happy Birthday, Tucson - 8-23-22 1

They say it’s your birthday…

We’re gonna have a good time

I’m glad it’s your birthday

Happy Birthday to you – The Beatles

Well, this is a rather atypical way of beginning a newsletter. And yet birthdays bring a smile to our faces. Now, there are some of us who might celebrate their birthday every day throughout their birthday month. I have a friend who actually does that. As she owns her own business and when her birthday month comes around, she decorates her “office” area and wears lots of birthday “foo-foos & doo-dads”. Some would be equally as happy if people did not acknowledge their “special day”!!!! Most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

We celebrate not only people birthdays, but we also honor our country’s birthday. We shoot off firecrackers and fireworks. I have to confess, considering how people feel about America, I sometimes wonder if we are truly celebrating our nation’s birth or if we’ve simply been given the legal means to make lots of noise. 

So why am I talking about birthdays? Ask anyone in my family, I am always forgetting birthdays. (Well, except for my daughter’s.) Everyone else, regrettably I don’t remember. However, I will not be hard on myself because I do remember – 6 months prior or 3 months afterwards. So, yes, even though I knew it was coming soon, I forgot a significant birthday for our community. On August 20th was the 247th birthday of ………..Tucson. I have neither newspaper nor TV, and I don’t spend a lot of time on the internet, so I don’t know if there was much of an acknowledgement that 247 years ago was the founding of this precious city in which we live. 

Tucson was founded in 1775 when Hugo O’Conor, an Irishman working for the Spanish crown, officially founded the Presidio San Augustin del Tucson. (Thank you, Mark Harris, for your Happy Birthday, Tucson article found on 4Tucson’s Facebook page.) It was some 75 years prior to that Father Eusebio Francisco Kino arrived to help set the foundation for what would later become San Xavier del Bac Mission. As I read through Mark’s article my history loving imagination began to churn within me. I wondered what it must have been like for Father Kino to travel the desert whether on foot, on donkey, or both. He may have been traveling by himself or with others. I wondered how many hours he was left to his own thoughts. I wondered if there were times when he wondered what the Lord’s plans were. What I mean is – it’s fine to rest in the plans God gives us – but how many of us begin to wonder or even second guess ourselves & the Lord when we continually have to put one foot in front of the other and wonder when we’ll arrive? To break the monotony of his travels, did he sing to himself the 17th & 18th century equivalents of Draw Me Close to You arranged by Hillsong United?

Draw me close to You, Never let me go

I lay it all down again, to hear You say that I’m Your friend……

You’re all I want, You’re all I’ve ever needed

You’re all I want, help me know You are near.

Or how about the classic hymn of Trust and Obey?

When we walk with the Lord, In the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way; While we do His good will,

  He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.

    Trust and obey, For there's no other way

    To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.

Was Father Kino like many of us today – hoping and praying he was doing the right thing? Did he have to keep reminding himself to be obedient to the task – even in his uncertainties?

Jumping ahead to 1775 and Tucson’s official founding – I would imagine there weren’t many people here. But over time, like with most towns, Tucson grew. According to family history, my father during the 1930s spent time with family on a small ranch near what is now Craycroft and 5th Avenue. He said that one could see the lights of the university at night. When my family moved here in the late 60’s, I “think” Alvernon was considered city limits on the east side and going out to Park Place Mall was like an all-day affair. The population was around 250,000. According to the census data for this area today, we are now well over 1 million people. I wonder if the founding “fathers & mothers” could foresee how large this city would become. 

Just as we wish blessings and hope wishes come true for our loved ones when they are blowing out the candles on their birthday cakes; so too should we, as residents of this lovely city, pray for God’s blessings for Tucson. We all know that with growth come problems. There is much that Tucson’s citizens complain about: traffic, heat, jobs, potholes, the homeless, water, etc. One of 4Tucson’s guiding principles is to “not be satisfied with the status quo”. 4Tucson was created to encourage a biblical perspective when addressing city issues. 

It is my prayer that each of us regularly takes a moment to thank the Lord for the many blessings we have in and around our city. If you are having trouble thinking of one – take a look at the Catalina Mountains when the sun is setting. At the same time, let us be found faithful to ask the Lord for His protection over our city and for Godly men & women to rise up to help make the wise decisions needed for this city’s future. 

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