It all started over a year ago. One more move and we hope this will be the last one. Giving up, what we thought was our dream home, to a rough commute. The longest either one of us had to make in all our years of jobs.
The attitude in moving to a “different” community was – we will continue to do what we always do when we need to do it. We are not loud and noisy. We are creatures of habit – aren’t we all. We work, we sleep, we relax on our time. We take care of things when WE want to take care of them.
Sometimes the journey takes you down a path that you would have never thought was on your map. New experiences, new friends, new places and yes, new habits.
The welcoming from a small community is just what we didn’t expect. Coffee on the door step, a bag full of notepads and pens, unexpected introductions from passerbys. Yes, we are nice people and so were they.
A small note attached to the coffee has led to an unexpected habit in our spiritual lives. I have always said that we are believers in our heart. We have talked so many times about revisiting our beliefs and where to go. The work schedules and the time crunches just made each of us feel that we couldn’t start and that we didn’t want to go if the other wasn’t present.
When you choose to return to a place that you needed to have in your life, it changes things. Choices reflect change. Through thick and the thin, the hard decisions become easier when you can see the light. We needed something. We have both been knocked around – by life and by each other (not literally either).
I have had a lot of time to reflect on my beliefs. Each of us has those nagging questions and yes, thoughts. Can I be the person that God wants me to be? Am I worthy all the same? Does He even want me back? Why would He even want me back? So many other questions that I became overwhelmed and we did nothing.
Almost six years ago, my faith was hit hard and I didn’t care about anything. I was mad, angry and found it hard to even think of believing in anything that was good. When you see someone you love being taken from you, all you can do is watch and I had a hard time praying – maybe I prayed because I “thought” it would help – it didn’t. Up until that time I told myself I didn’t need to go to church and I can believe how I want to. No one needs to tell me “how” to do it or what to do.
I watched my sister take her last breath and I knew her faith was so strong that it didn’t matter what I said or did. She has made me think hard about what it means to believe, be faithful, be strong in that faith and those beliefs. I had struggled for four and a half years to figure it out.
That bag of coffee on the step changed everything. If you know one thing about me – I believe everyone comes into your life for a reason, whether for second or for lifetime, and this is true. Some texts and BAM! we are having Pastor and his wife over for a visit – right before the big “shut down” in the pandemic.
That was our biggest “aha” moment. We challenged all those beliefs we grew up to know and guess what – they aren’t any different than they were before. Our eyes were opened up and guess what – so were our hearts. We realized that it didn’t matter how you get there as long as you grow and as you continue on that journey, it will get you there all the same. We had finally found our home.
Fast forward 15 months and we have settled quite nicely into a better routine. New experiences, new friends, new place and yes, new habits. Which brings me to the most awesome of all experiences.
The town we live in is about 500 people and it has two churches and a Christian school. Every 4th of July, there is a huge celebration – a fundraiser for the school. It is absolutely amazing. When you think about this, it will blow your mind.
The town starts with a Walk/Run sponsored by the local bank. It generates a dollar amount for each person that signs up for this walk. Now, comes the fun part. When you start that walk/run there are 3 times as many people taking part in that than there are people in this town! 1,500 people had signed up for that walk/run of the one mile that is required to generate those dollars. One thousand five hundred people!!
After this amazing feat, there is another fundraiser – smoked bbq pork dinner (and yes you can smell this before the walk/run). The smokers have made some rib racks to be auctioned off before the meal. Krispy Kreme is also available! We enjoyed some of the donuts at home before heading back to the school for dinner!
The school gym was packed with kids, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. The topping on this was the 1919 root beer floats for a dollar!!
We spent the next few hours at home and watched as the kids enjoyed blowup bouncy houses with some cool water attractions across the street – again more fundraising as they could play all day for ten bucks! There were softball games at the diamond, bean bag and spike ball tournaments on the church lawn, too.
The parade started at 6 p.m. on mainstreet. We were treated to parade floats that were homemade by neighborhoods throughout town – you really get to know your neighbors!! There were your garden variety tractors and advertising by local businesses, also. The kids were not dissapointed by all candy that thrown out.
We did not have to make a single thing to eat at home. You see, there were concessions at the field across from the church – brats, chips, water, cookies. This tided us over until the outdoor ice cream social and local entertainment. We watched as people strode from home, cars, and bikes to the church.
We returned home to enjoy the fireworks display that was provided at 10 p.m. It was an awesome display to end the evening’s festivities!
Throughout the day we marveled at all of this. We both commented about how strong this community was, how we were blessed to be a part of it, and most of all how this all played out on this hot July 4th! I do have to comment (as Dave and I discussed this) that all this fun included anyone – there were things to do for any age – without alcohol being offered anywhere for anything or anyone. With that being said, we thought about all the celebrations we have been to and experienced. Nothing has compared to the celebration of Freedom as much as this did.
You may say, but look where you live. You may say, no one must drink. You may say, you don’t drink anyway. You may also say – that town has always been a “dry” town. And I say to you – There are new experiences, new people and new places to be had.
Dave and I often say how blessed were are to have found this place. To be a part of this community has changed many things. We know we have missed out on many things – but, it finally tapped us on the shoulder and showed us a new path.
Yes, I still miss my little sister like crazy, however, without her, I may never have found the place that I have been looking for all these years. Her strength, courage, belief, and faith, have finally taken hold of my senses. I know we are suppose to be here, now. It took a long time, but we are home, right where God wanted us to be.