I think sometimes people get this stereotype of small towns. We’re all low middle-class farmers with seven teeth and are about 20 years behind the times in fashion, education, and technology. For example, I wonder how many of you think I have to go to the public library for internet access, or that we all have dial-up modems (Ok, DSL connections are actually fairly recent) or something here. We get real television stations, too. We even have big box stores, movie theaters, and professional sports teams in the area. It isn’t as isolated as you think. I do probably have to drive farther than you to get to any of those places, but that isn’t necessarily a design flaw, now is it?
If I told you that my town has only one part-time police officer that we share with the next town over, what would you think? That it would be a scary place to live? Let me tell you, the last time we had what you might consider a break-in around here was when somebody got drunk three New Year’s Eves ago and accidently drove into the front porch of Pastor Mike’s house. They didn’t even have to do a lot of investigating to find the culprit, as Lewis was the only one with a smashed-in front end and needed stitches above his eye.
Because it is a small town with one part-time police officer, we have to rely on each other more than other places. Which is a fancy way of saying everyone knows everybody else. But having to rely on each other is better than you realize. If your car dies on the side of the road, you can bet the next car that passes you is going to stop and help. Heaven forbid there is an illness or tragedy in your family, the neighbors start organizing meal deliveries, store runs, transportation if you need it, and prayer circles if necessary. You are never really alone, in either in your sadness or your joy. Just ask my neighbors, the Lewises. Their first baby was born six weeks premature. They had to go to a special hospital about a half hour away so the baby could be in the NICU. People mowed their lawn while they stayed with the baby, took in their mail, looked after their dog, set up the nursery, and decorated their whole house as a surprise when little Jane was finally released.
Now think about where you live. Do neighbors go out of their way to help you? Would they even notice you were gone?Do they even know your name or anything else about you? Would you like them to? If so, you can bring a little bit of that small-town mindset with you and introduce yourself to the folks on either side of you. You might be glad you did.