I love living in the city. I love the noise and the activity and the people. I embrace city living. I love living among people of different nationalities and cultures and languages and faiths. I love the easy access to the arts and festivals and music of all genres. I never regret living in the city.
But, once in a while, it is nice to go to the country. My grandparents lived in a rural area. My family lived way out in the country for a few years when I was little. I have very happy memories of playing in the woods, fields, and creeks near our house. John and I lived in a small, rural town for a long time before moving to the city and loved the safety that small town life offered our children. There is something healing about the quiet and peace of being in the country. When I get out of the city and stand in the middle of an expanse of land, I feel free and alive and whole.
Last weekend, John was invited to speak in Ithaca. We left Rochester and drove through small towns and rural farmland to get there. Ithaca is a wonderful place and we were able to spend time with a very good friend. We stayed in a house that felt like it was out in the middle of the woods, even though it wasn’t far from town. It was so quiet! No traffic, no car radios booming bass, no people shouting, no firetrucks or police cars blaring their sirens. Just quiet. I slept deeply and soundly, like I haven’t slept in a long time. When we woke up, we had coffee in the hush of rural morning and watched a herd of deer wander near the house.
The experience made me think of a song that I love:
This song always makes me feel calm and peaceful. It reminds me of my grandmother and her firm faith that everything would be okay, because God would take care of our needs. I can close my eyes and remember sitting on her lap in the rocking chair. Her skin was cool and her cotton dress was soft. Her arms encircled me, keeping me safe and secure. She would sing to me, and all my fears and worries and sadness would go away. For some reason, being out in the country and hearing this song and remembering my grandmother all evoke similar peaceful, healing, calming feelings inside me.
I love living in the city. But I am so thankful for opportunities to spend time in the country. There is a balm in Gilead. After our time in Ithaca, I feel that balm continuing to seek out and heal any worry and discouragement and sadness in my soul.