Monday, August 27, 2012

Rural Freedoms

By Mary Vee

Heather M is the winner of the book giveaway from last Friday!
Stop by this Friday for another book give away.

God works through many community settings to help us through our situations. Seems like the one we grow up in tends to be our favorite.

Paul and his wife from Jackson, Mississippi celebrated an anniversary. They traveled to the farming community in Ohio where he grew up and had a special celebration with their family. 

He told me how he loved the secure and free lifestyle he had while growing up in the small Ohio community. "We never locked our doors, never had to worry about doing it. Folk who live there today do the same. It's a close knit community where people can trust each other."

I asked him about Jackson. "Oh, Jackson is a different kind of town. It has all the big city features, shopping and all. The problem is, parents have to watch their children all the time. Crime can get out of hand. We live there because my wife likes it."

I see. 

My husband and I also lived in a close-knit community on an island in Lake Huron, Michigan waters. The six-mile wide hunk of dolomite had a tiny touristy grocery store, an elementary school, a bank branch, lots of woods, and one blinking light. Neighbors gathered together and gave there bulk grocery order and money to one of the residents owning a van. That person took the ferry to the mainland, drove up to the "soo" "Sault Ste. Marie for groceries, and hauled the order back.

Most other items were bought online through the catalog.

Island kids roamed free, stopping at whoever's house they happened by. They climbed tall trees, rode their bikes, skated at the village rink, and knew to be home by suppertime. If your child caused a problem somewhere, you'd hear about it. Of course, you'd pass the message along to your child as was appropriate.

No one had a house address. The UPS guy knew where everyone lived, and if he saw you on the ferry he handed you your package right there. 

Bears invited themselves into homes and raided kitchens. They never cleaned up after themselves and tended to break the back door. We learned to keep two garbage lids close by to scare the beasts away.

Everyone left their keys in the car. If you happened to park in someone's way they could move your car to the side. Always expect to find your car in a different spot.

Life moves at a slow pace in rural areas. The islanders knew each other, it might seem like a fish bowl to outsiders, but no one struggled, everyone helped. Life's survival lessons could be learned in a safe place.

The two years we lived on the island let me see a God style of community: slowed, friendly, helpful, working hard to survive, ready to cover someone's back, a whole lot of nature, laughter, and fun.

Don't get me wrong, God also loves to work with the city community life. Share with us how your community demonstrates our God.


Heather Marsten said...

I live in a rural area and often doors are not locked. Sadly there are still some robberies, mostly drug related. Still, I felt safe letting my kids bike to neighbors' houses and did not feel compelled to watch them as carefully as I did when I lived in a larger city.

The church I attend serves a few nearby cities with a lot of needy children and children with single parent families. We started a Titus2 mentorship group and the girls come. We encourage them to bring friends and enjoy a fun-filled Saturday afternoon. We start with lunch and then do activities. Moms are welcome to attend and our elders. If there are discipline problems, a mom can tell one of us and we will address it in group to all the young ladies. We have dealt with issues like bullying, disrespect, being careful with your online presence. We've had everyone (old and young) give a two minute speech so they can practice job hunting skills. We've taught the girls cooking, sewing, knitting, how to put on makeup, manicures, and even had a gynecologist come in to answer questions and talk to the girls about things they need to know in today's society. This month we have drummers coming in, one of my co-leaders is an African drummer. The girls are going to learn to drum and dance. We've taken them to the city to watch plays - many had never been to New York City. It is a wonderful group and our young ladies are a real blessing. We learn as much from them as they do from us.

We try to keep God in the mix, but not preachy -

Have a blessed day.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Heather, what a wonderful ministry your church has. I hope others can read your comment and maybe find a way to do the same in their area. Or maybe others are and can share their wonderful experiences.

Thanks for your comment.