First impressions, Pavillion’s water and why I am so darn happy
It’s difficult to decide where to begin when I’ve taken what seems to many, including me, like a “break,” and at the same time gone through a complete upheaval in life. So many disturbingly hysterical things have taken place that I don’t know which takes precedence. Do I talk about the high school counselor who didn’t find me at all funny? Or the physician’s assistant who I unintentionally reduced to tears? Or the pastor who, when I compared his wardrobe choices to those of our former pastor, just moved on in the conversation, but not without a completely perplexed look in his eyes? Or do I discuss my first impressions, those that this brand new culture had on me?
How about none of it?
First, I’ll say that I was excited to move to Wyoming because I will gladly admit that I genuinely prefer the company of staunch Republicans. I know that many of my friends and family are wondering now if I ever really liked them, and the answer is, “Yes, I like you. However, I feel like I have to censor any conversation that I have with you because I am of the firm belief that anyone over the age of 35 who is a Democrat is probably also clinically insane (not my words, but I found them wise), and therefore, when I don’t hear from you for weeks, or you call me ‘skewed,’ I know I must have forgotten who I was talking to for a minute and said something directly instead of dancing around a sensitive subject.”
Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve seen or met any Democrats here, but the dynamic is such that I probably wouldn’t know it if I did because they are probably reserved about talking about their political views. Even the newspaper, which I had serious loyalty issues in subscribing to, has a bit of a different take on everything than I am accustomed to seeing from mainstream media. Tell the truth. When you think of Wyoming, you think of poisoned water, right? Well, don’t. While I’m not convinced that the water here is as good as the water I drank for 36 years in my hometown, I also don’t buy the whole “fracking is poisoning the water” routine, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that my poor husband’s job is on a fracking crew.
I know these things. A) That media sensationalization is real and rampant; and B) That most journalists are Democrats and therefore unable to separate their nonsensical and hypocritical viewpoints (excuse me, but how many of your precious trees did you kill to make sure you printed that article demonizing the logging industry when you could have easily put it online AND added the fact that they planted 30 trees for every newspaper you just printed) from their work. I would totally drive to Pavillion and drink the water straight from the tap.
While I experienced great difficulty, at least initially, in fully grasping the conservative culture I was living in, a weekend headline in the paper highlighting an upcoming legislative vote (which, I might add, appeared to be an easy pass) for Wyoming to print its own currency and buy an aircraft carrier, just in case (of another term or apocalypse?), brought me to the point where I am now. I’m not entirely sure where an aircraft carrier would be placed, but I do know that the wind here would allow for a bunch of kites to be strapped to it and for it to be stored in the sky indefinitely.
Which brings me to another point. The wind. There is a stupid rumor circulating around Great Falls, Montana, that it is the windiest city in the U.S. It’s not. It’s windier here in Casper. It’s windy to the point where they don’t really know what a mosquito is, I’m told. My poor husband (for an explanation on why I call him this, please refer to previous blogs entries that indicate marital content, such as “Turns Out I’m a Drippy Faucet”) brought me some earplugs one day, and I immediately posted on Facebook that it was the best Valentine’s Day gift ever. However, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t the sound of wrestling or fighting children I was going to need to drown out. It was the sound of the wind trying to tear off the second story of the house all night. I’m not kidding. I had a great day on Sunday, and I don’t even know why because I hadn’t slept in two days because my dear husband (now you’ll see a tone change which will explain why I call him that) explained to me that the sound I was hearing was the wind hitting the outside wall at an angle that was causing stress to occur on the truss. So, really, I’m listening to the wind try to knock the house down ON TOP OF ME (!!!) while I’m sleeping (or not sleeping because I’m truly concerned).
On a more serious note, I guess it can be said that I’m adjusting. I don’t always adjust to the new very well, and my husband informs me that I am loyal to the point of handicap. I sometimes feel like I need permission from him or someone else to form new relationships, to like a new environment or to simply start laying new roots. Both my poor husband and I were clear. We knew that God was bringing us somewhere else. It’s uncomfortable, and we put down deep roots elsewhere, making comparison inevitable and homesickness unavoidable. I sat on a bench in the mall one day crying, on the phone with the pastor from our home church, devastated that we hadn’t found that connection here right off the bat.
We all know that I am not known for my stellar first impressions or my patience, and in a move, these two characteristics I lack would be handy. But my pastor said to me, “Remember. To know Donna is to love Donna.” This reminded me of how terribly long it took for me to form any relationships even within my comfort zone, and it reminded me of how it happened at all.
The walls that Jesus tore down, brick by brick, can be easily rebuilt by my own perceptions. It hurt me to leave the people I love, and I hadn’t, despite the warnings from those very people, noticed that I already had begun rebuilding that wall. Outwardly, it looks pitiful, by definition. Inwardly, it looks the same. I hadn’t realized it, but I was succumbing to despair.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” I was not doing myself or my family any favors by choosing to struggle. I say I was choosing it because I simply was. Prior to leaving Great Falls, I had heard our pastor talk about our circumstances and our decision to react to those we deemed unfavorable with a pitiful attitude or an open heart (not his exact words, but how I perceived the sermon later). I had done exactly what I thought I wouldn’t do after listening to a message like that. I was pitiful.
It’s only been a couple of days since I decided to “get up” (Jesus’s words), stop whining and start listening to what I’m supposed to be doing here. In the meantime, I will operate with a cheerful heart, so as to not cause stumbling for those I come into contact with because the relationships I want to develop here I hope to ones built on joy and cheer and not on pity and despair.