I woke up really early this morning, and I woke up feeling really sad. I had a dream about the small town where we used to live. I can't remember all the details, but it was a good dream. What made me sad was realizing how much I miss that place.
Before moving to Colorado, John and I lived in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Arkadelphia is a small town in the south central part of the state. It is home to two colleges, one of which is Ouachita Baptist University. John and I met while students there, and that place is very special and sentimental to us. Imagine how thrilled we were several years later when John was called to pastor a church in that little town we loved so much.
We spent 3.5 years in Arkadelphia, and have so many happy memories.
Milkshakes at Malone's, Wednesday night church suppers, Friday night football games, and OBU games on Saturdays, pounding the pavement with my running friends, Christmas and Homecoming parades, amazing neighbors, college students and college ministry, Lake Degray, the pumpkin patch at the Hunter Christmas tree farm, Adult 6 Sunday school, and Bunco were among some of my most favorite things.
I also loved that going to the grocery store took about 2 hours...because you'd run into so many people. It wasn't just a shopping experience, it was a social outing. Seriously. I loved driving through the bank and having the teller greet me by name, and hand me things like a laminated newspaper photo of one of my kids, or have the lady at the pharmacy ask how Will's bronchitis was. I loved driving around town and waving at people I knew. Loved going to Burger Barn and chit-chatting with a dozen or so friends before being seated at my own table. Loved watching friends' children grow from toddlers to kindergartenters right before my very eyes. You know, small town things like that.
And the people. Wow, what can I say? We were so blessed by the way people loved us.
It was heartbreaking when we moved from there. I remember thinking that I could live in Arkadelphia and be perfectly happy for the rest of my days. When John first started talking with his friend about moving to Colorado, I was so resistant. Wouldn't even hear of it. Over time God softened my heart, and now I really can't imagine NOT living here. But that doesn't diminish my love for a certain small town in Arkansas. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
I've experienced some small town livin' here. I usually always see someone I know at the grocery store. And I wave from my van when I pass friends on the street. Last week when I was walking on the trail, I passed 3 people I knew. But it doesn't feel quite the same.
So, all you friends in Arkadelphia...you're missed! And I love that you live in such a beautiful place. I miss sharing life and memories with you. A part of my heart will always be there.
BUT...I'm blessed to get to see THIS everyday! So I can't really be too sad. By the way, that's Pikes Peak and the snow I told you she was wearing last week was gone within a day or two.