Christmas 2011

Canadian Geese honk and fly a wavering line across the cold sky. Walking this morning after last nights rain was chilly, fresh, quiet and reflective. Trees still dripping and Red Cardinals dodging in thickets. Summer’s done and my legs are white again.

We’ve already had a taste of bitter cold but after a few days of thrashing, it pulled back and turned towards fall again kindly preparing us for the near future. Last spring poured and flooded every low lying bridge and more. Summer baked hot and scorched the ground of all moisture. Only fall brought back the rapture of nature’s joy. Autumn’s color was beyond anything either of us had ever seen. Colors that rivaled pictures we’ve seen of Vermont and the Smokey Mountains, it was like living in the whole rack of postcards.

Our kids found a place 35 minutes away in Mountain Home, Arkansas and moved at the tail end of summer. They only lack the bevy of friends they had while in California but good friends take time to gather and in time they’re new walls will hear the laughter and layered conversations the old ones once did.

I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned but one of the first questions you’re asked when you move here is, “Have you found a church yet?” with the follow up to your honest answer, “Well, we’d sure like to invite you to our church this Sunday then”. I enjoyed the simplicity in their evangelism; they assume you’re a Christian like there is no other belief, very black and white. You either believe in the Son of God or you don’t believe in anything other than beer and fishing. However I had to start telling people I did indeed have a church just to stop all the invites. It was easier than trying to explain that whether in the pew or in the pulpit, I don’t see Jesus rushing to get out the door for all these meetings. I can see Him dropping by once in a while so that’s what I do and hope I catch the same day He’s there.

Down at the convenience store where they cook up good food and piles of it, you’ll find a lot of people who came from somewhere else. A whole people group who came here for a better life, much like the people who came here over 100 years ago, but a whole lot easier.  And like those before them, their very presence is reshaping the community. When my wife and I first arrived here our motto was that we didn’t come to change things, we came to be changed. However, now that we’ve been here a while I see how naïve that was, you can’t deny your personal history. Everywhere you go you bring yourself and where you’ve been with you and it’s bound to have and affect along the way, can’t help it. But isn’t that how its always been in this great mixing bowl? America is always in flux and has never stood still from the moment we got our land-legs back. The winds blow the sands from the coast and lay them across the Rockies. Soil from the north swirls down rivers to become our bottomland, mixing and turning.

Today folks born and raised here can’t understand how people could move all the way across the country leaving family and friends behind for a new life. It’s funny hearing that sort of disbelief coming from people whose ancestors did just that. The good people who first put ax to tree here were all about change and ended up breathing their last breath for it. Though today their offspring wouldn’t think of launching out from their comfort zone to settle a new life elsewhere.  They’re just “inhabitants” now and the pioneer spirit that allowed their birth to take place here is sadly gone. In general the locals are not happy with “Fureigners” moving in. One reason being they see it as threatening to change the slow way of life here. Like most small town people they tighten into cliques and draw an invisible line….with a Mayberry smile. Yet they don’t realize how much the outside world has already influenced them and quickened their pace. Like everyone else they’ve enlisted change by purchasing convenience with things like cell phones, GPS, high speed internet, satellite TV, microwave ovens and comfy cars etc. In many cases not much different than people in the city just more trees out their windows.

One thing we can all learn from one another is that we are all the same. Our history is really the same too, we all more or less came from pioneer stock. Some live closer to family in graveyards than others but everybody has family in graveyards. Our best things are not our history but what we bring to the table today. Friendships that are true are beyond golden measure. Everybody across this planet is kin and our grandfather’s name is Adam. To understand that is the beginning of peace on earth good will towards men. God has not failed to do that job; we just haven’t participated in changing our minds to facilitate the plan that was laid out before the invention of time. I may be applying too simplistic solution to a more complex problem here but I think if people got a little more acquainted with the Jesus they want others to come to their church and meet, it might just cure a lot of agitation.

Merry Christmas and Good will towards men.

Published in: on December 17, 2011 at 11:58 am  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen, well said brother!

  2. Amen to that Greg! Many of us leave home and family for the unknown. Some return, but some move on. Some love to roam, and some want to stay put. Every single person is like a whole new book,, that has never been read before. That is what makes the world go round.

    You have a very very merry Christmas, and the best New Year ever!!!
    miss ya,
    Louise Noland
    Hesperia, Ca.

    • Thank you and a very, very Merry Christmas to you too Louise. The most I miss from Cali are friends and you are one of them.

  3. Merry Christmas, I love your blog.. And this time especially, you’ve hit the nail on the head! I found when first moving here, that although people smiled and acted friendly, that they really didnt like foreigners, I was told partly because we come and buy their homes at higher prices, and they can’t afford to buy property anymore.. hmm.. I guess the recent economy evened things up.. Anyway, it does take some time to make new friends and find new interests.. A friend of mine from
    calif recently visited for 2 wks, and after just a few days, she commented that theres nothing to do out here other than eat…
    She was so used to the fast pace and I dont think liked slowing down this much.. I happen to not miss all the traffic, noise and crime.. so I’m not having that problem.. I also left family, and friends behind and that is the hardest part! But MIssouri is a beautiful and natural State..I hope you keep writing your blog.. I so look forward to your insights..

  4. Thank you and I’m glad you enjoy my blog Marilyn. Funny about your friend being so bored here. I find that there is too much to do as we are busier now than when we were in Cali. Yup, family and friends are the hardest part of a move like this, I just don’t know how those old timers did it way back when with no phone, no internet/ Skypes and dicey mail delivery. Take care! Merry Christmas

  5. Merry Christmas Gregg and Cathie,
    Amen to your blog. I love your writing Gregg. I was just sharing with my boys recently,that where ever you go,Whatever neighborhood you move to. They will benefit,because of the incredible light you carry (Jesus). You both have changed your neighborhood. And have left a hole in ours. No one can fill that hole. Miss you and love you. Enjoy the season.

  6. Thanks for your latest blog. As always, I enjoy your writing so much! Have a Merry Christmas!

  7. Thank you Tami and Merry Christmas to you! I enjoyed the pictures your mother posted on facebook…. all your smiling faces!
    You have a great family!

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