This Small-Town Life

I was low on energy, lonely and I started feeling trapped.

I grew up in a small town and met my husband in a small town. At least, I thought they were small. He kept telling me how big they were to him. I always laughed. I learned to drive in Seattle, albeit, the ghetto of Seattle, but I still had to hit the freeway during driver’s training. I also lived in a good size city, though it was no Seattle. I traveled across the country by train when I was 21 and when we stopped for a few hours in different cities, I would go explore by myself. Denver was my favorite in that trip. The town we lived in when we were dating and first married was not big enough. I didn’t realize how small it could get.

When the opportunity came to move to Andy’s hometown, we took it. I had visited a few times and always imagined living on the coast. I had no idea how much a small coastal town would challenge me. In every way. Within two weeks I got a job at the local coffee shop and loved it. It is still my favorite coffee shop! In that first week I found out how fast news spread. I was at work and a woman came in and asked if I was the Aimee who had done childcare.

After 6 months of living in our small coastal town I was doing childcare full time and left the coffee shop. I was happy to be with the kids, but when I took them to the park there were hardly ever any other kids and only one time was there another adult. We hadn’t found a church yet and I was not having any adult interaction. I was getting very lonely. Our second winter began, and my doctor already had me on Vitamin D for energy levels since us, in the great Pacific Northwest spend most of our year in clouds and can’t get the sunshine.

I was low on energy, lonely and I started feeling trapped. Back “home”, Andy and I were able to pick from a multitude of restaurants, walk along the river without the fear of waves taking you out to sea, had dozens of hikes to choose from that could be hiked no matter what the weather, were less than an hour from an actual city and even had a Walmart. Here, to the North 30 minutes is a town smaller than ours. To the South 30 minutes is a town that is bigger than ours, with a Fred Meyer, but still smaller than any town I lived. To the East 40 minutes is a small town with a population of 55 (half of those are Andy’s family), and to the West is a family of Mermaids… or seals. I began shopping in the town over just to get out of town.

After a year of searching for a church, we finally found our “family.” Our church is 40 minutes a way from our house. We love it but it is hard to go to the evening services because I don’t like to drive at night and usually have to get up early the next morning (not early as in 7am, early as in 4 am). I am now head of creating a children’s department. I am excited about the things to come with the ministry but did not realize how hard not being 5 minutes from church would be. I try and plan my days accordingly, so I am not spending a lot on gas money. Therefore, I am not working on random projects as much as have in the past at my church.

Does it sound like I am complaining? I am. I have told Andy a few times recently that I can’t stay here anymore. I hate our apartment. I am lonely. We are far from our church. I want to go to a good hippie restaurant and get kombucha on tap. I miss my family. And then, there are the other days.

There are days when I think about all the memories, we have made in the past two years in our little apartment. I have started making true friends and relationships. Every time I walk into church I truly feel at home. I still miss good food and my family. However, when I walk along the ocean, I have a peace wash over me. When I cuddle with Andy, no matter where we are at, I feel at home. When I think about the past two years and how close Andy and I have grown, the friends that I have made, bringing Jax into our family, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

God leads us places and there are times that we don’t understand. Most of the time we don’t even see the “why” until years later. That is okay with me. It is not always okay when I am upset but when I pull myself together, I get excited to see what is next, and what God is going to bring. Whether God moves us to somewhere else or fills our life with the relationships we need to prosper, I know He has a plan and that He can, and will use our story.

I know many of you out there have felt upset with your lives. You felt lonely. You felt like something was missing. You felt unfulfilled. You wanted good food.  It’s okay. You are not alone. You will get through this time and in the future, it will make sense. You will look back and realize how much you grew. You will not be able to count the abundance of relationships you have formed. You will see the gifts that you have cultivated in this time. Take heart my friends, as you grasp your current adventure.