Small Towns

Last week Spring teased our area and I was able to go out and take some walks with my camera. One of these trips took me to the Riverton Library, which I have never before photographed. I think I’ll have to come back when there is foliage on the trees, I’ll get better shadows. It’s a wonderfully distinct building, and demonstrates the character of where I live.

Riverton Library Building

It might seem unintuitve, but as an Introvert I struggle mightily with living in a “small towns” area 1. Despite my calling, and the joy I feel in performing, my instinct is not to be noticed. It takes too much emotional energy. Living in two small towns puts me smack in a place where being known is considered normal. As a pastor in these small towns I’m supposed to be a known entity, and that’s another drain on my psyche. “Small towns” is not really a good fit for my personality, you can’t be anonymous.

At the same time, even with the level of “known-ness” built into them, these towns also possess a paradoxical instinct towards privacy. If people want to be involved, folks seem to figure, then they’ll be involved. This does fit my personality. It takes me a while for me to lay down roots and feel comfortable in my environment before I feel I can allow myself to become involved. Eventually, I inevitably do involve myself in the life of my community. For some reason my heart always migrates towards the center of things while my brain is screaming at it to run into the corner and hide. It helps to have a wife who cannot help but be involved, she’s often ahead of me and her presence is an encouragement.

It’s taken twelve years, but I feel integrated into life here in these little towns. The combination of smallness and private-mindedness allowed me to grow organically into the fabric of this place. What a ride.

  1. Palmyra is intimately connected with Riverton. They should have integrated years ago, but old prejudices on either side of the border have kept it from being fully integrated.