My co-worker and I went to lunch today. There’s a great little place next door to our office building that we enjoy, but we haven’t been in a while. Today we decided to go there and get a salad.
We ordered and found a seat, and in just a few minutes, someone stopped by our table. It was my cousin. She also works in town, and we have lunch from time to time. This little deli place is one of our favorites. I had just commented to my co-worker that I hadn’t seen my cousin there in a while, and then there she was!
She was with a couple of her friends with whom we usually share lunch, and so the five of us moved to find a table where we could all sit together and chat. My cousin also pointed out a couple we knew who were sitting with another group on the other side of the restaurant. The man used to work with both my dad and my cousin’s dad (my dad’s brother).
Now, this may all seem very convoluted to you and hard to follow, but for me, this is a common occurrence. It’s actually pretty rare for me to go somewhere without seeing someone I know – either a relative or someone from past jobs, school, or church.
It’s a running joke between my co-workers and me that they can’t take me anywhere without seeing someone I know. But you know what? I love it! It’s one of my favorite things about living in a small town.
In my book, the main character, Samantha Evans, has grown up in Chicago. She comes to the small town of Gadden Valley, Georgia (a place I made up) and experiences the culture shock of everyone knowing everyone else, and their business! It takes her a while to get used to the variety of quirky but lovable characters that populate this small town.
Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love people. They fascinate me. Their various personality traits, quirks, and habits are what make them unique – and what makes for great characters in novels! And everyone has a story that is uniquely theirs. It’s one of the wonderful things about how God created us. We are each an “original” – God has never made the same person twice. What an awesome Creator we have!
Another thing I love about seeing people I know is that it reminds me that I’m never alone. There’s always a friend or relative around somewhere. And that makes me feel loved and secure.
Yes, living in a small town has its downsides. But there’s something special about being a part of a community. Our Creator made each of us unique, but He also made us to connect – with each other and with Him. Living in a small town gives lots of opportunities to do that. It makes me think that is what Heaven will be like – together forever with our Creator and all of God’s saints.
Maybe small town living is, after all, a tiny glimpse of Heaven on Earth.