I live in a small town now. Sometimes I wish I could say this is my ‘hometown’ but it hasn’t felt like home to me in almost 30 years, if not more.
Growing up here was not so bad because I had a loving mother and father who did a lot for me. They made sure we were in church and they taught my siblings and I about the Bible and God. They gave us discipline and direction.
When I was ten years old (I think that is the correct age), my parents got a divorce. I never recall any arguments. There were no court hearings or that ugly bickering about the nitty-gritty details that really never matter down the road anyway. It was cordial, calm and they were kind to each other. When it come to taking care of my siblings and I, you would have never known my parents were divorced – at least not to my knowledge. They provided our every need and I have never heard either of them say a derogatory or negative thing about each other. Not ever.
Sometime later, I become that defiant teenager who pushed the envelope as far as I could. When I got caught doing something I wasn’t suppose to be doing, I feared my parents. Not because I was afraid of them. That was never the case. They were loving parents who cared deeply about my well-being and this time I had four parents instead of just two. Both of my parents remarried while I was still a teenager. Maybe I rebelled a bit. I don’t know. Okay, I do know. It was a lot of rebellion. I just knew that I was ashamed of how I had disappointed them, hurt them and I knew that their hurt would far out weigh any punishment they handed to me. They always showed me tough love if needed and compassionate love if needed as well. I was loved no doubt.
I survived those teenage years and so did my parents but none of us got out without a few bruises on the heart. I eventually moved away from this small town only to come back several years later.
Initially, I felt that coming back here was something I wanted to do. I had no reason for it other than I felt I needed to be closer to my parents and ohhh, of course I was feeling God’s promptings to call me back. Unlike my siblings and their children, my parents did not get to ‘grow up’ next to my children. That blame is on me. I accept it but my life was another part of the state and I did my best to cultivate that somehow. My aunt and uncle were the closest thing to grandparents that my children had when my grandparents were not able to be around. That is the reality and only when I was older (as in two and a half years ago) did I see that I wanted my children to know their grandparents on a deeper level than just those celebratory family gatherings and phone calls on special ocassions. I wanted them to have more than the phone calls that lasted from ten minutes to an hour. I wanted them to go see them more. To spend time with them and really get to know the rest of the family.
I can’t tell you that the move has been better for us. I wish that I could. It has been confusing and full of many mixed emotions. My children do not like the area due to its lack of progress and that entire small town talk mentality. We all loathe it. They enjoy the mountains when it snows or the crisp fall days and so do I. We enjoy going to memaw’s or papa’s. We love it when they come over for special occasions. We have made some memories in the time we have been here but making up for lost time is just not possible but we all love the city life as well.
I feel like I waited too late to come back. I will take the failure in that part but I am here now and I am trying yet nothing has changed. Children are all grown, cousins don’t talk, I lack a relationship with my siblings which trickles down to a lack of a relationship between cousins. It is strained to say the least. Family get together’s are calm and quiet but you can be choked by the tension in a room when we are all together. The craziest thing though – everyone smiles (forced smiles it seems) and we cordially get through whatever event we are engaging in and then we move on. Never a word spoken until the next one. I always go home and cry on the way home or cry in the shower. It is not what I had hoped for. I don’t understand it. I am not even sure I want to anymore.
I know a couple of people whom I consider good friends here and that is it. I really don’t try either. I just don’t have the desire to get close to anyone if they are not family. My family is everything to me yet somehow my family really lacks a bond that I know God would be elated with tears of joy if we ever could make one. It is complicated. Thirty plus years of complication. How do you even repair that? I am ready. I have been ready but that is about like going into a fierce battle alone on a pony and no weapon. It feels so hopeless.
I am here for my parents. I stay for my parents because I love them and I they are not getting any younger. They know I am not happy here and while I know they would be okay with me leaving the area, I am struggling with it very badly.
I feel like Reese Witherspoon’s character in Sweet Home Alabama who says,
I am a city girl who has not lived in the country for years and I also know where my roots come from. I just don’t know where or how the two can ever be one. It is one of the most conflicted places I have ever been in my life. Depression. Weight gain. Hair loss/breakage. Sadness. Confusion. It all has and is beginning to take its toll on me.
Yesterday I was in the small, two lane downtown area of this sleepy town. Even on the days small business’s open from 9am – 5pm, this town is still sleepy in my opinion. I was in a business and I was feeling really annoyed with the services I had received and the lack of modern technology that should be implemented in this particular business. I was in there a lot longer than I should have been so I was feeling like I could just get in the car and run away from this one horse, looks like a deleted scene from Footloose kind of town and never look back. As I was crossing the street, I glanced at a vehicle and recognized the person and the voice I heard.
As I approached the vehicle in the middle of the street (not to worry, no traffic was there so not holding anyone up) a conversation began. In the midst of that moment, this individual whom I know fairly well said to me, ‘I appreciate you!’. Powerful.
Do you know what that means to know that someone appreciates you? I think that is better than someone who says they like you.
Appreciate – recognize the full worth.
Appreciate. Recognize. Full Worth.
Those are powerful words. So powerful that I went to the car, sat down and began to cry. I needed that. It was perfect timing. It was God lining up the events to allow me that moment, to let that soak in and sit with me for a while. So much so that I needed to write about it.
I have not felt appreciated in a long time. We should all be telling others we appreciate them. We should recognize one’s full worth. It is so powerful and can help cultivate the greatest truth in one’s life. Appreciation. Appreciate. Recognize full worth.
As I bring this blog to a close, I am actively seeking God to help me see everyone’s full worth the way that He see’s our full worth. We are all worthy of His grace and mercy. We are all worthy of His love and to be overcome by His presence.
My time here in this town may not be long. I do not know. I am conflicted on levels that I can not begin to explain to you. I may never leave again and saying that to myself is as painful as writing it out. I may move and not tell anyone. I just don’t know. My parents are here. I keep telling myself that.
I appreciate you. Go tell someone who may need to hear it. I think that is a powerful statement and you never know the moment that your words can impact someone else.
Love, Peace & Happiness,