“A donkey for sale!” they screamed as we drove into our new hometown. Still a little unsure about where we were going to land, I felt a rush of anticipation as I pondered the idea of finally living at least near the country. I had grown up in the country, on a dairy farm. Acres and acres of rolling hills, tall cornfields and freshly-mown hay surrounded me for better than 20 years. Even the winter, with several (sometimes nine) feet of snow banks and icy roads couldn’t divert my attention away from the promise of springtime with its trickling brooks and trees that swayed with any warm, soft breeze that passed through. Country living nestled into my heart at some point and promptly went into hiding as I entered adulthood, got married and started my family.
My husband had been raised in a large city with all that comes with that lifestyle. I surmised noise pollution, over-crowded, congested streets and crime-ridden neighborhoods were the reasons for my abhorrence of city-life. It was all I knew of urban existence. My only reference point concerning “The Big City” came in the form of made-for-TV movies and soap operas. I suppose you could label me as an anti-municipalitarian if you like. (No, it’s not a real word, but you know what it means, don’t you?) Our marriage was a cultural blending in the truest sense of the word. In the early years, we joked about the country mouse and the city mouse and how we so closely resembled them. Occasionally my husband would switch to a country music station on the radio in the car and jokingly exclaim, “We’s country now!”
Snapping back to present day, I realize we have pulled off the road to observe wildlife in a field nearby. A sand hill crane lands like a helicopter, extending his legs like landing gear and softly, gently padding his feet to the ground. This is a different kind of country. We didn’t have these amazing birds in Upstate New York, at least not thousands of them like we find here. I find it hard to contain my excitement as I wonder if this could be the place. Will we live here?
The suburbs became our compromise as we settled into married life. I had less “space”, but soon figured out that my little corner of the earth could be cultivated and transformed into a closer resemblance of “home”. Even the dense, clay soil was no match for my intense desire to put down roots, “dig my heels in” if you will. Giving up my secretarial profession to be a stay-at-home mom was a concept I eagerly embraced; I had looked forward to this all my life. I’ve experienced an unexpected added bonus; I get to teach my own children as well. The command to …be content, no matter your circumstances… is an easy pill to swallow when life seems to be served up on a silver platter. What happens when all the food slides off the plate? Do you fly into a rage and blame everybody in sight? Or worse yet, do you blame God?
Twelve years of marriage and five children later, our plate was full of wonderful experiences. My husband had a good job with benefits and I was a successful stay-at-home, homeschooling mom living in the suburbs and loving every minute of it. Of course, everyone has challenges, but my God is an awesome God and He is in control; I knew that. I had learned to face the challenges head-on because I had grown accustomed to the security my Heavenly Father graciously extended to me. Whenever hard times cropped up, my God was there to comfort me.
“Potty stop, please daddy?” We have arrived at our destination, but still need to secure a “home” before nightfall. If we don’t find something, we’ll need to stay in yet another hotel. With four kids and two dogs, we’ve discovered some places will not exactly welcome us with open arms; and we understand. It’s hard to be selective when faced with such a time limitation, but wouldn’t it be great to have an old farmhouse, a wrap-around porch and acres of yard to mow?
Sliding back into reality, the local newspaper produces a few good leads. This seems like the perfect town with lots of parks for the kids, a museum and “Look kids! Kool-aid was invented here!” We don’t even pretend for a second that luck landed us in the third house we looked at. We are going to live out on the edge of town. There’s a mall, gas station and even a small airport nearby; but guess what I found less than ˝ mile from our new home? A dirt road meanders past the airport! Seems a bit silly to be so excited about a dirt road, doesn’t it? All the amenities of suburban living AND the country! What more could I ask for?
Many factors combined propelled us to this small town in the Mid-west, and certainly there were plenty of self-doubts and questioning prayers directed Heavenward. But it’s easy to be obedient when we have the assurance that God is leading our family on the course He has laid before us. Family health issues have disappeared and the main draw to this place has been satisfied. As an added bonus, my husband is going to realize his dream of becoming a storm chaser.
It’s springtime in Nebraska. Like the fresh, budding countryside of my youth, new life begins…again.
Sorry... but I meant to tell you that the "book" I'd have to write had more to do with "donkeys" than it did with dirt roads. Still, your article ministered to me at my point of need. And God's just good that way. He cares about ALL our needs... the big ones and the small ones. Thanks again.
"Dirt Roads and Donkeys." Sister, I'd have to write you a book. So, I'll just say that you can't begin to imagine the things that are racing through my head right this instant. Nevertheless... "The command to …be content, no matter your circumstances… is an easy pill to swallow when life seems to be served up on a silver platter. What happens when all the food slides off the plate?" What happens? Well, we act like humans and then wind up on our knees, humbly confessing our doubts, pleading for forgiveness, only to find that God is STILL Faithful and True, even when we are not. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a dirt road or two to check out. There's a house somewhere with my name written on it. I don't have a clue where that is. But Faithful and True does. Thank you for the boost.