Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Small Town Life

Well, I grew up the first eighteen years of my life in a small rural coastal community. When I say rural, I mean rural. I mean, there is no road access whatsoever to my hometown and the only way to get here is by ferry. Two ferries from the nearest large city actually. It's a beautiful area, surrounded by ocean, lakes, and mountains, but a small town nonetheless.

I didn't really realize how deep the dynamics of small town life come into play here until I came home. I'm always reminded of it when I come home for a visit.

For instance, I'm in Wal-Mart helping my mom shop for stocking stuffers and every aisle I walk down I see people I know. It got so bad that I'd see someone I knew and duck into the next aisle just because I really wasn't wanting to have the tenth conversation in one hour consisting of "Hi, where are you at? What are you up to? What are you studying? What are your plans?". I know all the clerks in the grocery store by name. It's just such a small town feel. I don't know how to explain it.

Now, I'm not really complaining, because living in a small rural town has it benefits. Although there is a problem with small town gossip, there is also the advantage of the accountability a small town provides. People know who you are and you have a certain reputation to live up to. I also appreciate that I'm not an anonymous nobody in the small town. People see you, they recognize you, and they sincerely care about what you're up to and what's going on in your life. When I'm at school in the city I could go shopping all day and not see a single person I know. Here, I can't go gas up my car or pick up a jug of milk without running into half a dozen of my former classmates, let alone family friends, former teachers, neighbours, etc...

Speaking of former classmates, this afternoon I went out for coffee with two girls I went to school with for thirteen years. I was in a really small program at school because I was in a francophone program and there were only six of us in my grade! Needless to say, after thirteen years of school together we knew each other pretty well. Anyways, I went out for coffee with these girls whom I hadn't seen for over three years. It was kind of awkward because we are all at such different places, have such different priorities, and such different values in our lives. Yet at the same time our entire childhood, in fact the majority of the history of our lives is so tightly intertwined. I'm glad we went out for coffee but it also gave me perspective on how much I've changed since graduating from highschool, as have they.