A reminder: ‘Small town living—peace for the soul’
Bill Cooke

Neighbor Grover sez the good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come pretty close. F our generations of our family have been preaching the virtues of living in “Regal Rockdale” in “Matchless Milam” County. In fact, those two phrases were coined by my grandfather who bought this paper in 1911.

But sometimes we need to hear a fresh voice on small-town living. I’m delighted to pass on the words of a newcomer who likes what he sees and feels here.

He is Adam Straznicky, our new sky-pilot up at St. John’s Essentially United Methodist Church. Adam and wife Sara welcomed their first child, a daughter, just two weeks before their move from Longview to Rockdale. They’ve had about a month to settle in with baby Avery, and here is Pastor Adam’s first message in The View, the St. John’s newsletter:

Rev. Adam Straznicky, with wife Sara, delighted to return to small-town living. Rev. Adam Straznicky, with wife Sara, delighted to return to small-town living. Small Town Living—Peace for the Soul

“I was raised in a small town —East Bernard, Texas, population 2000. East Bernard is a town with a single blinking red light, a local barbecue hangout, Dairy Queen, a few other eating establishments, and a small grocery store.

“In the morning, the retired and semi-retired men meet to drink coffee and discuss the teams’ performance in last Friday’s football game and labor to roadmap predictions on who will win state in Class 2A football.

Art by Yulieta Romo, a 2012-13 kindergartner at Rockdale Elementary School. Art by Yulieta Romo, a 2012-13 kindergartner at Rockdale Elementary School. “East Bernard is a place where life is taken really slow, and nobody seems to be in a hurry. People work hard for their living and come home to spend quality time with their families. To an 18-year-old, East Bernard seemed too slow.

“Leaving East Bernard, I moved to College Station—a town built for 50,000 permanent residents with an extra 48,000 students moving into every rent house, apartment and dorm available.

“After College Station, I moved to Fort Worth, the 16th largest U.S. city (population 778,000). From Fort Worth, I took my first clergy appointment in Longview (population 80,000). I noticed in all of these places a faster pace of life, traffic, always feeling shoulder to shoulder with people; struggling, sometimes aggressively seeking a parking space, and passing so many people and never looking them in the face or learning their names or story.

“We would almost instinctively think, ‘So sorry, no time!’ What does this do to our soul?

“ In Rockdale I have found that small-town living restores peace to the soul. Rockdale is a bit larger than East Bernard, but the traffic is considerably less and moves just slower than the big city. The concerns are less present, and we are content to stay at home, in our neighborhood, or in the community.

“ The fear of getting the last parking place nearest to the door at the mall—because you know that missing this parking spot will mean hiking a football field distance— dissolves away in small-town living. The slower pace, and knowing most everyone in town, creates an environment of caring and consideration for one another.

“Most of all, we can stop to hear God speak to us and inspire us in new ways, and we open our hearts to the growth that God has for us.

“ In writing to the Roman church, the apostle Paul said, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.—Romans 12:2

“Life in the big city made living out this scripture challenging for me. The fast-pace, always something to do and places to go, made stopping for reflection more difficult.

“Life in Rockdale comes as a blessing for the moments to pause and hear God’s word, instead of the car horn, and experience God’s peace, instead of long lines at the grocery checkout.

“This week and always, listen and hear God’s word and experience God’s peace. Rockdale is the perfect place for it!”

We thank you, Pastor Adam, for reminding us.

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2013-07-25 digital edition

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