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January 23, 2017 “Who Knew?”

Who knew that the house a girl grew up in could seem half as large on return visits decades later?  Who knew that the hills and red dirt banks that appeared virtually insurmountable in efforts to scale them in her childhood could appear mere rises in the terrain as seen with adult eyes?  Who knew that the long distances to neighbors’ houses on foot or on bikes for a girl and her brother could seem a few short paces to the adult returning to her hometown?


Who knew that Rutherford County, North Carolina—a county once abounding in textile mills—could take one of those plants, “re-invent” it, and have it serve as a technological hub for Facebook—one of a few in the world?  Who knew that the specific textile plant that was the job site for a dad for most of his working life—one that, as it closed displaced thousands of workers, could come alive once again and provide employment in a depressed area?


Who knew that Southern Company could find a little community called Sandy Mush, (so named for the sand that blew into the livermush as they cooked it over an open fire) buy some 489 acres, and install 289,104 fixed-tilt, monocrystalline solar panels?  Who could ever imagine so many panels planted where a pine forest once grew—an investment in clean energy for generations to come?


Who could imagine a downtown—once thriving with businesses—more than four decades later struggling but hanging on and still displaying its simple, quiet charm with a tree-line median, park benches, and water fountain?  Who knew that an approach to a home-state and hometown, after living most of one’s life in other places, could still manage to tug at the heart and stir feelings of, “I’m home again”?


Who knew that one’s ears could, after being surrounded by dialects and patterns of speech from many other places, so easily find comfort in the voices from home?  Who knew how easily one can resume relationship with people from childhood after having so seldom kept in touch?  Who knew how good it can feel to the once-in-an-occasional-while kind of visitor to show up on a relative’s doorstep, have her struggle for a bit with recognition, but then TO CALL HER NAME?


Who knew?  Well, we all knew.  We know—we have always known—that some things will change—change in ways we would never have imagined.  But other things will never change—no matter how long we are away.  I am thankful that love shared with important people in our lives will never change.  No matter how long we are away we can renew our conversation with one another and our love for one another any time that we may meet again.  Most of all I am thankful that my relationship with God is like that.  Sometimes I may wander further away than is good for our relationship.  But whenever I show up God calls my name and welcomes me home!


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