15 Years in Chicago

Last week Lisa and I hit 15 years officially married.

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It seems like so many years and none at all. What is really amazing about hitting that mark is that as recently as three years ago it was not a certainty. In fact we were much closer to divorce than we were to anything else.

It has been a lot of work for both of us to get to where we are now. Some of the time it seemed the obstacles we had out in our own path were insurmountable, were too painful.

I’m glad we did the work. I am grateful we waded through the pain. It didn’t lessen the hurt but it taught us who we are and that lead to understanding which helped heal.

We wanted to celebrate that work. Perhaps a bit more so this year because of well, 15 years felt like a milestone. I was in charge of the plans again this year so I decided to go big. I asked my mom for some help because it’s OK to ask your mom for help.

She came into town unannounced. With my mom here to watch the girls I was able to surprise Lisa with a trip to…..

Chicago!

Yeah that’s right. Chicago. We had never been there before other than to drive through. It is a major US city and more importantly it houses the Bahá’i Temple for North America. This was the primary drive for our visit, though as it turns out we took advantage of other opportunities.

We flew in Thursday morning and took the L into the city. After checking into the Talbott Hotel

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Testing out the King.

we headed out for some food. Despite the somewhat inappropriate/tempting name, we opted to bypass Velvet Taco and ate at Lou Malnati’s.

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¡Green chile por favor!

Yes we did the deep dish pizza thing. It was pretty good, but the New Mexican that I am…I wanted green chile. Then it would have been outstanding.

 

After that we walked the Magnificent Mile doing a bit of sightseeing. We ended up in front of Trump Tower…. I don’t really want to talk about that.

Day 2

After an relatively late breakfast we took the L up to Wilmette to see the Bahá’i House of Worship. Words fail me. It was just so…beautiful and serene.

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The thought behind this temple was a melding of East and West and indeed you see a lot of Eastern architectural influences in this building including the minarets, which are a favorite feature of mine.

The temple is incredibly detailed and this required new techniques in concrete construction.

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Detail on the House of Worship

 

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Closeup

The surface is a mix of white cement and crushed quarts. I’m told it looks purest white and glitters when in the sun. We wouldn’t know as it was overcast the entire time we were in Chicago, but it was still a beautiful site.

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From the Garden
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Detailed Minaret

The minarets held endless details. If you look from the top down you will find:

  • The Nine-pointed star of the Bahá’i Faith.
  • The Star and Crescent of Islam
  • The Cross of Christianity
  • The Star of David
  • The Hooked Cross of Hinduism, Buddhism and other religions

We spent some time walking the grounds despite the chilly winds. Inside the temple we attended the 12:30 Devotionals and spent a great deal of time simply sitting in silent prayer and meditation. Most of the time I was praying and reflecting.

Some of the time I was thinking about how I could use the layout and design of the temple for a Dungeons and Dragons adventure. I think I did pretty good overall.

It was a very moving experience and I am grateful to have been able to share that with Lisa. Not so many years ago I would have hesitated to admit a belief in God and today my faith is a cornerstone in my life and a roadmap for all of my interactions with the world.

All I had to do was give it up.

After most of the morning and early afternoon we headed back into the city for our evening plans. But I’m going to make this a cliffhanger.

 

 

 

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