If I were being completely truthful, by definition, my home town is Las Vegas. Not exactly the warm and cozy, stroll down the street, sit on your front porch kind of town. But that is where I was born. So where did I grow up? A little of here and a little of there. We moved about every five years or so as my parents searched for a place to better our station in life. Thus, the move and it will be better message was received loud and clear. All that moving around left me craving the hometown experience. A sense of belonging and being part of something bigger than myself.
Dreaming of Greener Grass
We all know the “grass is greener” myth. In my mind I know this, but my heart says, “It might not be perfect but it could be so exciting and fun.” I live in a constant state of tug of war between my heart and mind. In fact I have spent about the past twenty years bouncing around all sorts of ideas about where would be the ideal town to live in and what kind of house I would want to what kind of business we could have in order to live in this fantasy town. And yet, here we are. Still living in the same subdivision dreaming the same dreams. Mr. Means and I are not getting any younger, so we must take a stance. Make a decision. Stay or go. If we go, it can’t be too far as I can’t imagine living so far away from my girls that I couldn’t see them whenever I wanted or they needed. That limits our choices dramatically.
Isn’t It Ironic?
Now what I didn’t explain is that our master planned subdivision is just east of the Brazos River from one of the most historic small towns in Texas. Because Richmond is such an old town, the folks who live “in town” don’t consider those of us across the river as being residents of Richmond. That is just our mailing address. So, yes, I realize that I technically have a small town address, I do not have the small town experience.
I have lived in Richmond for thirty years; about eight times longer than I have lived anywhere else. For many reasons, such as work and all those east of the river things I mentioned, I have never really felt a part of the town of Richmond. I want that to change.
Change Of Attitude
What do I have the power to change? Perspective.
I fell in love with Laurel, Mississippi. But it is not my home town. I want that kind of home town. Erin and Ben Napier make lots of folks want that to be their home town, but the fact of the matter is that it isn’t and it never really could be.
At the beginning of their show every week, they talk about how there is beauty in every town just waiting to be discovered. The residents get used to things being the “way they have always been” and there is very little motivation to change. Often that change comes from the outside. I know Richmond has uniqueness and beauty just waiting to be polished up and put on display for the world to see.
Erin also says, “Just get up and make it happen.” There is a young and vibrant group of young families moving back into the area and are desperate to make this the hometown they have always dreamed of for themselves and their children. New businesses have started and things are happening. Slowly. But they are happening. I’m way past the young adult phase of life, so I begin asking myself, “Well, what do I have to offer? I’m not sure I would even fit in. All the other people my age have lived here for many years. I’ve just been lurking.” Sometimes I just want to slap myself silly.
Answer To Prayer
After returning from Laurel last week, desperate to live in a cottage or bungalow in a small town, I began praying. I asked God to make His plan for us our plan. I know that I go off on tangents that make my husband’s head spin. Most would have ended in disaster if I was allowed to twirl unchecked. I don’t want to move to another state only to find out it was a mistake. This is something we need to get right the first time.
On Sunday, after a week of these prayers we attended an event for a local business I have followed since before they were open. It was their two year anniversary. In fact, that is where I am right now, writing on their deck on a gorgeous spring day. The business owner and her family just moved from one of those cookie cutter master planned communities into an adorable cottage just a block from her coffee shop. She is living the dream. I want to live that part of the dream as well. I want to be able to walk for coffee, wave at neighbors on their front porch, have a community of people to whom I belong. I miss belonging.
After the birthday party at the coffee shop, Mr. Means chose to drive around the very small historic neighborhood behind the coffee shop. Maybe, just maybe his mind might be moving in this same direction as well.
The Next Step
I wrote one time about trusting God. Just follow His flashlight one step at a time. I asked Him “What is the next step?” Later that same day I “stumbled” across a podcast that held the answer. If you want to belong, find a group and join it. What a stunning thought! Why didn’t I think of that? Oh, yeah…I remember now.
I am a socially anxious introvert (not always noticeable when meeting me) that always assumes other people think I am weird, stupid, or otherwise unacceptable company. I can tell you, that when I share this deep dark inner secret, folks just think I am crazy as I don’t appear to be any of those things. But that doesn’t change the internal messages.
So the next step is to refute those negative voices, with the voice of truth and go find a group, an activity, a place to belong. I’ve got some ideas and I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, I plan on coming across the river every Tuesday to experience and share a little more of my home town.
Until then, keep looking up, embrace today and go find some fun!