I was apprehensive about coming to Ruston and staying for a month--fear of the unknown is a powerful deterrent. Would I be remembered--would it be the same--would I be welcome? My intent was in visiting for a month was seeing all those I had missed so much. Also at the back of my mind was the nagging question, "Should I move back to Ruston?" Where does God want me planted?
Due to a variety of issues, I was not certain I could ever come back. I am not getting younger and health issues have begun to raise their ugly heads. I would greatly miss my family who are all in Texas. The What If's are a powerful drag and truthfully they are worry in disguise. The What If's cannot rule your life or you will become frozen in fear. Living beyond doubt takes a huge amount of courage. Pulling my big girl pants up can be harder than shimming into a girdle in the good old days. For certain though, I want to live life to the fullest and be aware of God's plan for me.
The welcome was heart warming--I get teary thinking of all the wonderful reunions I have had over the past month. Time has marched on, Ruston has changed, but the fact remains-Ruston and Farmerville will always be home. It did not take long to realize--
Back in October I attended my 50th high school reunion in Farmerville. Though the high school I graduated from has been renamed and consolidated, the bond goes beyond the place. I was amazed at how quickly we picked up where we left off all those years ago. We, for sure, had all changed, but the bond of attending a small town school was not easily broken. It was a sweet reunion of sharing memories of growing up in the Mayberryisque 50's & 60's. The reunion rekindled friendships and bonds that have spilled over to a vow to keep in touch. While I was here in Ruston for the month, the local classmates met again and began planning another time together next year. We are keenly aware of our limited time left and hope to keep the commitment to meet at regular intervals.
It quickly became apparent what I had been missing. There is not one thing to quite compare to small town Southern life. Everyone you meet you either know or have common ties with. It is a small world full of charm, warmth, and an overflow of good will. You are never a stranger--never invisible--and no man is an island here in the midst of rural small town life. I have to watch what I say, what I wear, and what I do--for someone is always watching. What a delight--to be known and recognized. It is amazing though how effortless I slipped right back into life here in Ruston.
SO-I am moving back to my hometown. God seems to have flung doors open and closed others abruptly in my face. I have a potential sell for my house in Fort Worth. I have worked out a way to come for extended stays with the grands in Texas. All I need now is a home in Ruston to make this happen. Not to worry, I can always stay in a van down by the river. Meanwhile, I am moving--and keeping my eyes open to what God has in store.
Here is one thing I have learned over the past nine years. As my sweet friend so well puts it, "Everything this side of Eternity is all hay and stubble." This world is only temporary. I look forward to the day when I am welcomed into my Eternal Home. For now though, I am delighted to say---Ruston will once again be Home Sweet Home!
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
II Corinthians 5:1