a guest post by chelsea
Texas is all I’ve ever known.
I began kindergarten and graduated high school in the same small town school district. I attended the University of Texas in Austin, absolutely fell in love with the city, and stayed on staff at my church there for a couple years. I now live in Fort Worth where I’m attending seminary. Although I’ve recently found myself yearning for travel and adventure, across the country and the world, I know beyond any reason that no matter where my feet will take me, Texas will always be home. And there’s no place like home.
I gotta admit, I don’t love the typical Texas things. Sweet tea is gross. (Seriously, how do y’all drink it with every meal, Texans?) I don’t ride horses or go to rodeos. I don’t even own cowboy boots! Country music only remains bearable in small doses. And on some days in the summer when I’m feeling weak, just looking at the heat index can make me cry. So, why do I love Texas?
In my tiny little hometown, I found that people talk slowly, listen attentively and smile easy. When tragedies unfold, little ladies may whisper gossip…but they also weep for those affected. Churches, across denominations, work together to reach out to and serve the area. Wedding and funeral announcements are made on the local radio stations, that the community might celebrate and grieve together.
When my younger sister won reserve grand champion for her artwork at the County Fair and it went up for auction, my boss and my mother’s boss took turns raising the bid until it hit the maximum. My sister walked away with a hefty scholarship check and the undeniable truth that her creativity has value.
Whenever I began raising support to do summer missions, I sent out fifty letters to families in my hometown, explaining what I would be doing and asking for $20. One family paid for my entire trip. MY ENTIRE TRIP. That phone call left me grateful and so humbled, overwhelmed with very tangible support.
My local bank called if it looked like an account was overdrawn or had suspicious activity, just to check and make sure everything was okay (and to kindly remove that overdraft charge).
Madisonville, Texas, is a tiny point on the map. It’s one exit on the Interstate. Sometimes the lack of amenities and resources can be frustrating and boring. But out of the simplicity, creativity and quality time blossom.
There’s beauty in the ordinary, in:
sitting on the patio at Sonic after high school football games and eating ice cream
stars bright and thick across the black sky, the view unhindered by city lights or buildings
playing hide and seek at Wal-Mart
cow pastures adjacent to the country club’s golf course
the women who bake cookies every week for prisoners in one of the three nearby prison units
running through the sprinklers on the 15th day in a row of triple digit summer weather
perfecting your skills at Taboo and other board games on a Friday night
There are so many diverse cultures across the Texas landscape- from tropical South Texas with its giant citrus groves and incomparable Mexican food to woodsy East Texas with thick country accents and the smell of pine. Texas boasts mountains and beaches, deserts and rivers, forests and plains. Texas is so big and so full, with opportunity to experience so many different things. Although I’ve grown accustomed to city life now, I am so grateful to have grown up in a small town in Texas.
John Steinbeck said “Texas is a state of mind.”
As I ponder all the things I love most about this state of mine, I must agree with him. It’s the mindset, the heart behind it, that makes Texas so grand.
Chelsea is a full-time seminary student and girls’ ministry associate. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2011 with a B.A. in English. She loves to cook, watch Netflix, and her puppy Ringo.