Friday, November 7, 2014

Regret and Rejoice

As I shared my plans for the next few months with a group of new friends here in Blooming Prairie, one of them asked me if I ever regretted coming here. As I pondered the most diplomatic way to respond, the phrase "regret and rejoice" came to mind and I said "I regret and rejoice in that decision every single day." And I do! The scale seems perfectly balanced.

Most days there is some inconvenience that makes me wish I were back in Austin (or at least living in a city):
  • The local grocery store is out of some kind of fresh produce
  • I can never go anywhere without running into someone I know
  • I want BRUNCH on a Sunday and the only local choices are Subway and Dairy Queen (which don't change their menus on Sundays)
  • I haven't found Tex-Mex food that's up to my standards closer than the south suburbs of Minneapolis
  • People are too modest to volunteer for stuff - they wait to be asked (and I don't always know who to ask)
Likewise, there isn't a day I don't rejoice in my new life because:
  • People are so helpful! If my car gets stuck I will have all the help I need to push it out!
  • There's a huge sense of community - when they cheer on the Blossoms they are cheering for kids they actually know.
  • People work hard to preserve each other's dignity - they don't gossip, but they will privately share information that might contribute to my understanding (this one had a tough home life growing up, that one lost their job two years ago and is still trying to recover financially)
  • The members of the community are entirely accountable - if they say they will do it, nothing will prevent it from getting done. They find their own subs, step up for each other, and just make it happen.
  • I get to see my church kids in their context - riding their bikes past my house, playing at the park, waiting for the bus, and almost every one of them will wave when I go by!
The cost benefit analysis is endless and probably, in the end, pointless. I am here and there are things I treasure, and things that frustrate, which is exactly how I felt in Austin. And the people of both places always tip the balance to an overall good feeling.

And for those of you who read this for a taste of my small town life:

The Awesome Blossoms (coached by people from my church) are playing in the semi-finals for the state 1A Title in football tonight - against Minneapolis North. It is characteristic of this community that after seeing this video the kids formed the conclusion that even if they lose, this will have been a great game.

And, also characteristic of a small community, tonight's performance of South Pacific had to be cancelled because of tonight's game. Not because of audience drain, but because so many football players were part of the show, including the quarterback - who has an important role in the show.

After Tuesday's elections, our precinct was the last to report its results because there were 34 write-in votes in local races. I need to explore whether there's ever been a successful write-in campaign here - I'm guessing there has.

Anything is possible - I'm 1100 miles north!