The good life

This town is quiet.  And I’m told this town has always been quiet.  There’s a pharmacy that’s family owned, a pizza place that’s family owned, and an ice cream shop that’s…you guessed it…family owned.  There’s no Starbucks, no McDonalds, and you have to drive fifteen minutes to get to the nearest Wal-Mart.    This town is q.u.i.e.t.

My grandma keeps asking me if it’s too quiet, if I have cabin fever, if I’m bored.  Yes, I tell her, but it’s good to be bored.  I’m so accustom to running (and like any good suburban kid, when I say “running” I actually mean driving) all over, that it feels good to slow down and sit.   Just sit.

This is a different hometown squirrel
(c) 2010 Vince, Flickr // via Wylio

Today, I’m spending the afternoon on their side porch.  I was reading a collection of essays recommended to me by a friend, but I got distracted…by a squirrel.   He’s spent the last 20 minutes climbing and eating from a bird feeder.   There’s a blackbird who comes by every now and again to eat from the neighboring feeder, and I get the impression that this is a co-existence that both have learned to live with.

The only sound, aside from the blackbirds chirping, is a neighbor down the street with a weed eater.  “Sally’s out taking care of her yard again,” my grandfather says.   “Oh, yeah?  I wondered if that was her,” my grandmother replies.  And I know this is a co-existence that they have not only learned to live with, but have learned to live into.

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Last night at dinner, over tacos she’d made to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, my grandmother said, “I have a good little life here.”  She had just finished telling me about her week, and the church they go to now, and the ladies in her Bible study.  She raved about those ladies, talking about what they’re learning together and their huge hearts to take care of people, and laughing about their quirks because they’ve endeared themselves to her.   She raved too about the ladies she has coffee with on a weekly basis, and she kept calling them “the girls.”  And in the way she talked about them and told their stories, she didn’t have to tell me that she loves them.  I already knew.

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After the dishes had been cleared and my grandparents had gone to bed, I stayed up for a long time thinking about the “good little life” that my grandmother says she has here and the way it looks so much like the life I’m building at home.

I thought about my Bible study, about the group of women who gathers on Tuesdays nights to delve into the word and prayer and life together, and about how we’re going to celebrate five years as a group in September.   And I thought about how we all know each other now – about how Maggie doesn’t like citrus, and how Nickie lives her life according to “the spaghetti principle,” about how Melissa uses pencil because pens rebel against her, and how Jesse makes sure everybody gets a made-with-love dessert for their birthday, and how (I suspect) the whole group would fall to pieces if Liz wasn’t there to keep us glued together.  I think about how their quirks have endeared them to my heart, about how I’ll see their faces in any Bible study I attend from now on.  I thought about coffee with the BFF at the Greek restaurant in town, which we’ve decided we’re going to start doing on a monthly basis because we want to know what it’s like to be a “regular” some place in our hometown.

And as I think about how my grandmother loves her girls and how I love mine, I think there’s nothing “little” about that kind of life.   In fact, I hope that’s the kind of big, open, invested life I always have.

Because if you ask me, that’s the good life.  As quiet as watching a squirrel at a feeder.  As simple as having a cup of coffee with your girls.

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3 thoughts on “The good life

  1. It’s so hard to see how great and longed-for-by-many the little things of life are when we are in the middle of them, esp in a culture where everyone feels they must somehow build a big name and a big ministry in order to make a big difference. Those who can see the ordinary as gems have been given special sight. I love what you wrote here!

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