Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Little Ol' Winston-Salem

Not long ago I was having lunch with dear, dear friends from high school who were both in town for the weekend.  One lives in South Carolina, the other in Tennessee.  As we were catching up on life in general, Kelly asked me what it is like to live in Winston as a 'grown up'. If it is like just living where you grew up and went to high school all over again.

No no not at all...

Now, it is possibly the worst place on the face of the earth to be my age and single, but other than that, I just love it here.  (Please all take a moment to think of the guys that you know that are tall and love football but hate Carolina...)

Lately, I've loved it even more here because of the incredible sense of tight community felt here.  Now, I know that any place has more than fair its share of 'stuff' that goes on.  The unexpected sad news or circumstance that makes you wonder how such a thing could happen to one person or to one family.  But let me tell you what, Winston has had what I think could most accurately be referred to as a black cloud hanging over it for the better part of a year for a lot of people.  My friend Suzanne called it "2012, the year of Gloom and Doom" the other night in a conversation, and I thought that she sure was on target.

There have been sick, sick children and terrible car accidents and shocking medical issues with parents and siblings and the list goes on and on and on.  It's almost scary to open up emails or take phone calls sometimes, as it just seems like you don't know if "Did you hear about...?" will be on the other side and be something that will make the color drain from your face and leave you speechless.

But, I will tell you one thing.  This place sticks TOGETHER.  I would be willing to bet that there are some seriously bruised and battered knees around this town from hitting the ground in prayer over and over and over again as these things have happened.

And all you have to do is barely whisper around here that you need a little help in such a time, and your door will be stormed.  I'm talking "give-me-your-kids-and-the-dog-too-and-I'll-water-the-plants-and-pick-up-your-Dad-at-the-airport-and-do-your-back-to-school-shopping-and-let-your-brother-stay-here-when-he-gets-to-town" kind of stuff.  I know that this happens all the time in any town.  But it has happened time after time after time after time in Winston lately.

You will not find a door that is not open in this town.  You will not find arms that are not ready to catch you and your entire family.  You will not find a church that isn't praying.  No fight around here is fought alone.  Not even close.  Folks find that one big thing or those lots of little things that they can do to help someone that needs it, and they don't ask, they just do them.

As for me, I will pray for you SO hard.  That is a given.  And as funny as it is, I will grab my camera and go find your children and make them feel special.

Like with Lilly.  Whose grandparents, on their way to her dance recital, were in a terrible car accident that sent her parents out of town at a moment's notice.  She went from a full family row of cheerleaders to none of them being in attendance because of the accident.  Oh, but don't you worry.  She may have been the biggest deal of a 5-year-old tap dancer you've ever seen at her recital.  She got hugs and high fives and everything else from other parents, friends and siblings and was just precious.

Or Jane and Gray.  Their baby brother, Josh, had to have fairly short-notice open heart surgery in Boston that landed on the first day of school  For Jane, it was the first day of Kindergarten.  Well, at school yesterday there were literally dozens of people all over them both wishing a great first day to them both and good things for Josh.  I heard teachers and principals yell out to Jane as she walked in to have a great day.  Her picture was being taken by everyone that saw her.  I saw at least 5 people video recording their entrance to school to send to their parents.

And that is what I love most about Winston.  The community around here is absolutely amazing.  It is fun and vibrant and dedicated and will rally around someone like you've never seen when the time calls for it.

You will go through nothing here alone.  Not one single thing.