Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I grew up in a small town in the Tidewater area of Virginia. It was a remarkable place at that time because there was a real community where everyone knew everyone else. When I was a kid that could be both a blessing and a curse. I wasn't allowed to get away with much in that town!
I still have an affinity for small towns. Many times when I drive, I try to go off the beaten path and travel the backroads. There are still fascinating places where every one still knows your family and where the old "dead" buildings are still allowed to stand. It's nice to see old buildings still standing. It seems that their "soul" is taken away when they are torn down. Once proud, they now stand as reminders of the town's past. I like the idea that they are still there.
My home town used to be like that. When I was a kid, the county never had a stop light. Although the heart of the village hasn't changed much, the surrounding area has changed tremendously. When I drive along the main highway leading to the village, I hardly recognize the way it used to be. It boasts a Super Walmart, and all the little Mom and Pop stores have closed up. I don't like what the mega stores have done to the landscape or the charm of the place. Now the uniqueness of the place has been degraded and it has been made the same as every other urbanized area. Open land that used to be wooded or farm fields has been replaced by more fast food joints, WalMarts, endless gas stations, and many empty strip malls. Nothing unique about that.
I used to take for granted the beauty of the countryside where I grew up. Now all I can see is how the developers have ruined the landscape. I remember a hill overlooking a hay field where I would go in high school when I wanted to be alone. It was a stunning place to sit and watch the sunset, throwing sunbeams on the golden hay. I would sit by the edge of the woods and look out over the rolling hay fields and feel such peace. When I was in college I went back to that same spot and looked out over a whole field of patio homes. Every one looked just like the other. It made me painfully realize that nothing remains the same, no matter how near perfect it is. Someone or something will come along to mess with it.
Life is just like that. Just when we have found something that is beautiful and moving, someone or something will likely try to mess it up. I'm grateful that Al-Anon helps me keep going during difficult situations where I have a potential to really mess things up. I'm finding more and more that my life feels altered but in a good way. I can still appreciate the beauty of life and all that it has to offer even during the most challenging of times. There is so much to learn and so much more growth to have.