Do you tell everyone how much you love living where you reside, or are you one who does not like where you are, and makes sure everyone knows it? It’s not always easy to accept our living arrangements, whether it is a city that is undesirable, or the home itself. These are often not our individual choices; but how we accept them can make a huge difference in how contented we are and how others feel about us.
When I was a child, our family lived in a small town about the size of Chowchilla, where “everybody knows your name.” The neighborhood where we lived had three blocks, bordered by a creek. Families in all three blocks knew each other, and all of the children. In those days, very few mothers worked, so mothers were at home. They were called “housewives.” The children were allowed to play outside around the neighborhood, and as long as they were home by suppertime, mothers didn’t worry. In those days, this was a typical small community.
I started first grade in elementary school that small town. After I finished sixth grade, my dad came home from work one day and said he had been transferred to Atlanta. So, our family of five would soon be moving. I remember being excited about that move. It was a new adventure!
That first year in Atlanta was hard for our family. We had moved from a small community to the suburb of a large city, and we longed to be back in the comfort of the town we had left behind. All of us hated our new home. We had to make new friends, find a new church home, enter new schools, and start a whole new life. I told everyone how much I hated it there.
Children are often oblivious to what their parents are going through, and most of the time they shouldn’t have to worry about the anxieties of their parents. However, I remember well how hurt my daddy was that his family was so unhappy.
At the end of that first year, we moved again into a different community, as our first house was a rental. This meant changing schools again and making new friends, again. This time, however, I made an important decision. I was thirteen at the time. I decided that never again would I hate where I was. I planned to love where I lived, always for the rest of my life.
My parents lived in that same house for 52 years. When my mother died two years ago, Daddy moved into a retirement community (much like Cedar Creek in Madera). From a 5-bedroom home where he lived more than half his life, he moved into a 2-room apartment. He absolutely loves it there! They love him, too, and he has made many friends. He is happy, and the people there enjoy being around him because he is a contented person.
I have lived many places in my adult life, and every place has become my home in every sense of the word. I have lived in Madera for 27 years now, and I love it. If I ever move from here (not likely), I will love the place where I live next.
So, as they say, “Bloom where you are planted.” Not only will it make you happy, but your light will shine in others’ lives as well.
• • •
“There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.
— Luke 15:7