I grew up in a small town which I abandoned at the first opportunity because we all believed that leaving was the only way to make anything of ourselves, and it never occurred to us that we could be built into anything worthwhile within the confines of our pleasant valley. I believed that only in a larger place could I have the opportunity for greatness.
In the intervening 22 years I have lived in cities of millions and in a town of a few thousand and several cities in between. I have seen more of this continent than were dreamed of in my adolescent philosophies and indeed, there has been making in my life, though I was not the one doing it. I have genuinely loved everywhere we have lived, and would not trade a moment of the journey or the destinations on the way, but making a home here, in a small, (less) northern town once more I realize that I am a small town girl and I realize I am okay with that.
I look at my children as we traipse about the snow – Jonathan and I on snowshoes, and the children, elf-like walking on the surface – and I find myself eager for them to experience those things that were so wonderful about my childhood. Those things which at the time I thought we were only doing because we didn’t have anything “good” to do in our town are now fond memories and eager anticipation. In loving where I am I have also embraced the small town of my childhood and the memories of that place have taken on a sweeter aroma in my heart.
Lord willing my children will have a chance to step out beyond the confines of their own valley and breathe different air and eat different food and hear the same language spoken in a different way, as I have done. Lord willing they will each take their turns in some way out on the open oceans of life beyond the shallow streams in which we will raise them. I pray that when that comes, it will not take them 22 years to appreciate the gift of a small town upbringing.