Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our Town

Tonight I am proud of my little town.  I always admire the mountains, the stars, and the wildlife, but tonight I am more proud of the people.  It's a quirky place, a town built in an area known for a strange combination of a national park, mining, cattle ranching, and tourism is bound to be a little strange.  It's not unusual to see dogs waiting patiently for their masters outside the Two Bit Saloon or finding deer poop on the front porch.  It's a town where many people don't have a lot of money and Halloween costumes are handmade from permanent markers, duct tape, and a cardboard box rather than purchased at the store.  There are some real drawbacks in housing quality, fine art, or fine food.  Nevertheless, there is much to admire here.

I bet you can't buy bear spray at your local grocery store.
The current shoe pile beside my front door is a good sign.

The ice covered windows by my head when I woke up a few days ago were a bad sign.
For church, I've been the perma-substitute early morning seminary teacher since the end of October.  This means that every morning I'm at the church building by seven, in a dress, in sub-zero weather, ready to teach a section of the Old Testament.  I thought that substituting was a pretty nice thing for me to do, and have considered myself very self-sacrificing.  My sacrifice doesn't seem so big now.  One (of my two) students didn't have to go to school today.  Nevertheless, she woke up before six o'clock to be driven twenty minutes by her dad to seminary.  He returned at eight to drive her back home to spend the day with visiting family from the East.  My other student, brought a younger friend.  The younger girl is in eighth grade and a member of another congregation in town, but she would like to join our class.  She wants to voluntarily wake up, with no parental encouragement or pressure, to come study the Old Testament.  I respect these girls who will go far out of their way to live their beliefs.

Gardiner, tucked in the shadow of the mountains this morning after seminary.
Later today, I was leaving the laundromat when a sign caught my eye.

Behind the sign was the room where normally people wait while doing laundry.  But now, it is filled with donated coats for anyone to take who is in need.  No one was there to police the pile, decide who got the coats, or to even know who took them.  I was touched by the generosity of those in town who so freely gave to others without asking for recognition or gratitude.

Tonight I attended the Christmas potluck for a local grassroots organization.  I was impressed by those who spoke of loving this place.  I was impressed by these good people, from all walks of life, freely give of their time, energy, and even money to work to keep their town clean and safe for people and wildlife.  No one asked for applause, they just encouraged each of us to be a part of caring for our community.  Sometimes I listen to politics and I get discouraged, but that's not true of today.  I'm encouraged by the good, honest, hard working people of my community who quietly go about taking care of themselves, their neighbors, and the surrounding landscape.  I feel lucky to be a part of the community.



Jacque said...

Your post has brought many thoughts to this old and ancient mind, but right now I'll just say it is delightful to find you are the kind of person to bloom where whe is planted. Kudos for finding and being part of the good and beautiful where ever you are.

Meg said...

I love seeing all the evidence of the good people in the world. I wish newspapers has THIS news more often. Thanks for the good news!

evieperkins said...

Your post made me wonder why I was living in the big city. :)

Rachel Eddington said...

It made me wonder why I'm moving back to the big city.

Chris said...

Thanks for sharing a part of your day and life- your pictures are so beautiful! And I really don't miss the big city a bit... ;).