8.11.2004

Summer lessons

I just finished mowing the lawn for the last time this summer and drinking a delicious pot of Earl Grey tea. While mowing, I got thinking (it's a really big yard, which gives me lots of time to think, so, beware, this could be long) about what I've learned this summer. Here was my list:

  • I have no future as a landscaper. Computer science is my calling, and even if it isn't, neither is landscaping. Even though I was glad to have the responsibility of keeping up the 3 acres of yard (it got me outside for at least a few hours a week!), I don't think I'm particularly good at it.

  • Community is a good thing. I really questioned this last year- I began to get sick of this living-in-close-quarters-with-30-other-girls thing. This summer, I came to appreciate community alot more. I felt what it was to live without community, alone for a little bit. And it was very quiet-which is sometimes good- but, after a while, the 'quiet' becomes 'lonely'. Going back to Lessons of the School Year #2, I just recently learned I need people, and am now learning I need community. Within Community, however, I've also learned I have responsibility. Last year, I learned doing, or not doing, something for the sake of the community is worth it. This summer, I again had a choice that would not only affect me but affect my community- I had the opportunity to move off campus, but decided, for the sake of the community- Gerig- I should stay on campus, because I'm the Gerig Hall Council president, and there wasn't anyone to take my place. I prayed about it and, although I'd love to have an apartment next year, I am waiting till senior year for the community's sake. Tough decision, though.

  • I like small towns. Between living in Upland all summer, and going to visit Josh and his grandma, I've been exposed to more small-town culture than I ever have before, and it has been surprising. Small town culture, I've decided, has great value, and us city- and suburban-folk can learn alot from it.
    Life is simpler in small towns. The pace is slower. People talk to each other. Neighbors know each other. Doors don't have to be locked. People can go on walks after dark & feel safe. Front porches add alot to a house.
    I guess I'm most impressed with the feeling of community I've found in each small town, the way family, friends, and neighbors drop by for visits unannounced and sit and talk for hours about simple things like how the crops are doing or what Uncle so-and-so is up to these days or where the best place in town to get your car fixed is. My whole life for quite a while has been all about rushing to or fro a meeting or job or school or even a get-together with a friend-but always planned and purposeful, not spontaneous and comfortable. For me, there is great value in this small-town style of relating, because it forces me- who usually is speeding from one thing on my to-do list to the next- to slow down, stop even, and appreciate people and simple things I ignore in the normal fast-pace of my life.
    Honestly, at first, I hated it. I got impatient. I was uncomfortable. I was confused at why, first, people could just drop by unannounced at someones house and impose like that, and then, after saying hi and checking in, make themselves comfortable and stay! For hours! With no purpose, no agenda! But then I saw how tight the family and friends were who related this way, and how well they knew each other, and what each other was doing and dealing with, and I understood. I don't know my neighbors. It's been over a year since I've seen any member of my extended family. There is definite value in this small-town world

So, that's it. I'm sure there's been other lessons, but this blog's already too long. I'll get back to blogging regularly once the school year hits, and I look forward to it.
What've you learned this summer?

1 comment:

Matt Wissman said...

Yes, I like small towns too (and country life). The place I least want to live when I 'grow-up' is in a sub-urb in a subdivision. For one, all the houses look the same and I get lost :(. I'd rather live in a city or in the country.

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