A family health tragedy reminds us of, and reaffirms, the wonder of living in a rural community.
I know you can’t get parts after 5 p.m. The movie theatre only has one show time/day and is only open three days/week. Generally, there aren’t any plays, shopping malls or professional sporting events to attend.
Still, everyone knows who is on the football team, and everyone attends the big games. The county fair is truly the biggest event of the summer, and nobody misses it. In addition, most everyone waves at you when going down the road.
But perhaps the most incredible thing about rural communities is that they’re still communities; people rely on each other and support each other in ways that simply aren’t needed or possible in urban communities. When my wife and I got out of grad school and worked in Denver for a couple of years, we barely knew the names of our neighbors.
I’ve got to admit, though, that we have been so busy with our daily activities, kids, ranch, etc., that I hadn’t really thought about what it means to be part of a community. I was recently reminded.
My wife recently was diagnosed with breast cancer. The prognosis is great and she is coming through everything just fine, but I can’t begin to tell you about the outpouring of support from community and friends.
The kids were prepared to eat my specialty (frozen pizza) for two meals each day for a couple of weeks. Instead, we’ve had some of the finest meals one can imagine, and wide assortment of desserts, as neighbors, friends and our church have given so much that I honestly feel guilty. I have a friend who was taking delivery on a couple thousand yearlings, plus planting corn, getting cows to grass, etc., as is usual in his habit of working 18-hour days. While we didn’t have to take him up on it, he offered many times and I know he would have gladly been here to feed, artificially inseminate our cows, or do whatever else needed doing.
People are amazing. These last several weeks have taught us a lot about community. I probably will never adequately be able to thank everyone for all their prayers and acts of kindness, but the one thing I do know is that we’ll be saying a lot more prayers for others. I may even learn how to make some lasagna and brownies to deliver to others.
Without question it is community that makes living in rural America a very special place, and I appreciate it now more than ever. I wouldn’t trade a three-hour ride to the doctor or a cup of Starbucks coffee for the opportunity to live here in a very special place – rural America.