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  • Dr. Rebecca A. Thomas

I've Got Peace Like a River

Hello?? Anybody still out there? It’s been months since my last blog; but I’ve heard the ‘you should write a book’ comments several times again and thought that I should at least get my thoughts on paper and this blog has been more valuable to me in making sense of my life than it is to anyone else. And if someone cares enough to read it and ponder life’s vicissitudes with me, that’s great, too.

Since January of this year, we have had two of our grandchildren living with us. The circumstances were all good news; my daughter-in-law starting her last semester in Georgia to become a dental hygienist and my son, who entered a new position with Homeland Security that required a move to another state. This family has endured many deployments and separations through the years due to deployments, but as one might imagine, this one felt overwhelming. Grandpa stepped in and suggested that it might be best to have the kids stay with us for the semester so Mom and Dad could focus.

So we right after New Year’s, Mom and Dad departed for Georgia and Wisconsin, and Kody and Saundra began their semester in small town Iowa with Grandma and Grandpa. And time began to move at lightening speed for Grandpa and me. Oh, and don’t forget the grand-dog Recon—yep Holly and Dudley took in a new bunk buddy, as well.

I think the town was more abuzz over the new dog they spotted each day on walks with the Great Danes than the kids. Holly and Dudley are popular around town, as they are now a part of the daily life of the community. My husband takes them for a nice long walk every morning on a regular route, and they have quite the following. There are folks who watch from their living room windows to greet them, folks who waves from their vehicles, and they even make a couple of stops downtown. The woman who owns the beauty shop recently dressed Holly up with a feather boa and a hat to advertise her shop. And there’s the newspaper office, where they actually go in to greet everyone and receive a treat every day.

So over the past few months, we’ve had a lot of life and energy going on here at the Westover Center. Our day starts with my husband rousing the kids with a whistle and an announcement: “THERE ARE NO WEATHER-RELATED EVENTS TODAY!” This got started last winter when my grandson seemed to have great difficulty getting himself out of bed on cold winter mornings. Since the kids had been living in sultry Georgia for the past few years, snowy, cold weather was a novelty. They soon learned that a good snow storm just might give them a ‘snow day’, a wonderful day for kids to feel like they’re playing hooky from school. So any hint of snow would start the talk of accumulation and the possibility they would get to stay home the next day. Of course, in Iowa, most of the time snow or not, their hope were dashed; it has to be pretty bad here to get a snow day. So my husband became the morning town crier bearing bad news.

I think the kids were quite wary of small town life and likely thought that they would die of boredom. However, they soon found out that there are some benefits to small towns they hadn’t considered. They have much more independence here, as they can get around on their own two feet just about anywhere they may want to go in town. They could go to the local gas station to pick up a snack whenever they wanted (or at least until their parents cut off their funds for overspending!) They found out that their great aunt owns a four wheeler and they have been able to enjoy some hours in the country tearing around. Both have killed a few milk jugs with grandpa, as he has taken each out shooting, as well. My granddaughter is playing softball on the team and my grandson spends many afternoons in the yard playing football with his friends. They have borrowed a ton of movies from the library to watch, as well.

In just a few short weeks, we will miss the sound of Kody’s tuba and Saundra’s flute around here; quite a comical combination! We might even miss Recon’s annoying personality just a teensy bit, who knows? But we will be ever grateful for the few months we had to build a relationship with these two kids. They will likely carry with them stories of their semester of living with their crazy grandparents who live in a church. They have seen us at work and have met many of our clients and have learned about our work and our love for those who are hurting. They now have some friends here in our little town as well, so maybe they’ll come back for a visit or two more. This was an opportunity that we would never have imagined; and yes, it was exhausting at times and it kept us very, very busy! But what a precious time it was.

So, as Paul Harvey always said, ‘Now you know the rest of the story.’ The Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back on track with my blog. But I’m never sure what He has for me next, so I’m learning not to make any concrete statements!! I’m also learning that one can be at peace without living a peaceful life. I think I have imagined this season of my life to be slow and cricket-chirping peaceful and quiet--and it is so NOT!! Yet, I must say, I am totally at peace with where we are in life, where we are geographically, where we are spiritually, and in every other way. It’s not easy or even always comfortable; it’s often even tuba and flute raucous and messy even--but it IS wonderful.


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