Last Wednesday when the children came home from their grandparents, Andy and I realized we had hardly come up for air since our Saturday move. Our new pastor, his wife, and the church secretary greeted us on move-in day with a ton of food that provided every meal for those five days except for one night when we had bbq. What a warm, very thoughtful, welcome! It enabled us to work around the clock.
Like I mentioned yesterday, Joshua came home with a fever. I had no idea where to go for medical help. I had only located the hospital for true emergencies. But we hadn't even thought of who would be our new pediatrician. I texted my new friend (pastor's wife), but she was out of town. So I found a locally owned pharmacy and asked for a recommendation.
It turns out that their recommendation was for one of the nicest doctors I have ever met. Not only is he nice, but the entire staff was wonderful. Here's where the small town connections begin to be made. First, Joshua told the doctor that he was going to play baseball. It turns out that the doctor's son and Josh are on the same team. That lead to conversation about our other children. We told him about Lydie and Jack and about the boys' school. He, of course, knew most of the staff and children at the school and highly recommended it. I told him how sad I was that I had missed registration at the Methodist preschool for next year (this is the best one according to the talk around town). He told me to talk with the office manager on the way out, she would know someone who could help.
On the way out, I reluctantly mentioned my problem. This precious lady pulled me into a chair in her office while she called her friend, who called her friend, who called the director. I was sent directly there with a promised spot for next year, which I got. Then she sent me away with her personal number and her phone book. She assured me that she would treat me like family. Would you believe I have called her several times for help? Instead of nine degrees of separation, this town seems to have about two.
What I love about this small town is that everyone knows everyone. I love that those who grew up here respect the fact that we are farming and do not look at us like we are crazy, or uneducated, or well, crazy. And I love that when I have a problem people really get jazzed about helping me. In fact, they stop what they are doing until my problem is solved. And the pace is so, so much slower than I have ever known. It's nice. Except when I am driving. Then it gets annoying because I admittedly have a lead foot. There was a police man down the road this morning trying to hide and watch. I think someone called and told him I was speeding down this sweet, quiet, country road every morning. The reason I think someone reported me is because there is 18 miles of road between here and town and only two stop signs. I can not imagine any other reason he would be looking for speeders. Some mornings I do not see any one else during the first 12 miles on the way to school. Only animals. Note to self: Must set cruise control to 45 and forget about it.
But once I get to town, everywhere I look people are standing around talking to one another. In the middle of the store, on the sidewalks, in restaurants, at the gas stations, on benches-it's like they have no where else to be. People are always interacting, and you can tell by the relationships and connections that are in this community. It's a dream come true for a girl like me.
So I am trying to take a cue to slow down, build relationships, and serve others. Those three things have been my focus since we moved here. I have decided that I am going to start the habit in this new place of seeking out those who need a friend more than those who make me feel comfortable. It has been quite a challenge, but God has already opened the doors to fruitful conversations. I have learned of the widow's heartbreak, the alcohol/meth addict's struggle, and the foster mom's sacrifice. These are all treasured conversations that I would normally sacrifice for small talk with other moms more like myself. What a self-centered, hardened heart I tend to have! I think this radical move will be a good chisel. Praying to seek first HIS kingdom! Praying for the great privilege of being the hands and feet of Jesus!