We live in one of the most depressed areas in New York State.
Our closest nearby city was once named the saddest city in America. This region isn’t only economically depressed, but it’s downtrodden in spirit.
Many people gave up on life long ago.
My neighborhood is buckling sidewalks and burned out buildings.
My neighborhood is empty storefronts and closed up churches.
My neighborhood is houses falling down around the people inside them.
My neighborhood uses language, once reserved for sailors and truck drivers, on children.
My neighborhood is supported by welfare.
There are no jobs in my neighborhood. People are out of work for so long, they forget how good working feels.
My neighborhood is depression.
My neighborhood is children without hope for the future.
My neighborhood is young girls having babies, because at least then the state will pay for them to get their own place.
My neighborhood is dying.
The people who can are fleeing to other places.
We live in an area with farms surrounding every small town. This is dairy country. All you dairy free people wouldn’t do well around here. People eat, drink, and live for milk.
The cheese is good too.
Farmers are some of the hardest working people I know, and often, the farmers are also the doctors and the coaches and the business men. They do it all.
In the summer, this place stinks of liquified manure. I tell my husband that one day I just want to live someplace that doesn’t smell like poop. I despise the smell.
Because this is farm country, lots of Amish people have moved in. Horses and buggies drive down my street all the time. The kids love it. They stop whatever they are doing to wave at all the children hanging off the back of the buggies.
The Amish scare me to death. My biggest fear is that I will run one of them over with my car, because their horses don’t move very fast and our speed limit is usually 50 mph. When you’re driving up over a mountain, you have no idea if there is a buggy full of hay just over the ridge. These buggies are almost always driven by children.
Amish people buy Velveeta cheese, play Monopoly, and eat at McDonald’s. I never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
We live along the Erie Canal.
This place is full of history.
My husband has preached in churches that were missions to the Indians. It’s old here, almost older than dirt, but America is a young country, so it can’t be that old.
Last summer I thought about running a series on 31 Days of Historical Landmarks, because we have that many.
The local historical society is a fun place to visit. It’s like a boring textbook come to life.
We live in a place that needs to change in order to survive, but the people are clinging to the past with every last ounce of strength.
No one wants anything to change, but they are blind to the fact that everyone in town is changing. And it’s change for the worse.
This town isn’t what it was thirty or forty years ago. So few people remain.
The longer people cling to the past, the less hope there is for the future.
We live in one of the most spiritually dead places in New York.
My thirteen year-old son said, “I just want to go to a church where the people like me.”
Go ahead and let that break your heart for a second.
Some people refer to America as being a “Christian Nation” and I suppose it is in certain regions and pockets of our country, but I know the place where I live is not Christian, nor is it spiritual or religious.
I taught the kids in my neighborhood about Christmas. They never heard of baby Jesus, not even the little ceramic figure in a manger scene.
You’re probably thinking, “What a great place for a ministry family!”
And it is. People need the Lord.
Many days I don’t like living here.
Some days seem pointless and futile. Sometimes I worry that we are not doing the right thing for our children. I fear the longer we stay, the less hope there is of ever leaving.
I know God has a plan and purpose. I know I should trust Him and I do, most of the time, but there are days, especially when I see our kids hurt or discouraged, that I begin to lose hope. Those are the days when I want to pack our car and drive far away.
I’m not writing this post for sympathy or a pat on the back. We’re not doing anything special. We are simply attempting to love God and serve others. Many of you are doing the exact same thing.
Some days just look better than others.
This isn’t a very encouraging post, but it is honest. In my recent survey, someone asked me write more about where I live.
I struggle with what and how much to say. My desire is to love the people around me and to show them God’s grace. I don’t want my words to offend them, and I’m not exactly an anonymous blogger, so I generally shy away from the topic of where I live.
I live in a very small town.
Everyone knows everyone else and all of their business. In some ways, I love this. In other ways, it drives me nutty. I will try to strike a balance and share more with you in the future.
Now tell me, what is it like where you live?