The Beautiful 'Burbs

This blog celebrates ordinary church life, the seasons, and suburbia. While it is easy to imagine the seasons and even ordinary life as things to be celebrated, throwing a word-party for the concept of suburbia is simply weird. It is just not done. There are many lovely old tomes and new blogs written about country life, but a blog in praise of suburbia? I know the idea is strange.

I am a middle class, suburban woman - much like the vast majority of women in the United States. I do not live in a funky urban setting. I do not live on a grand estate, boasting acreage, a pristine, fish filled pond, and grazing horses. I don't live in a tiny shanty, voluntarily doing without electricity, with hives of bees and gravel roads spotted with horse and buggy. I have friends who fit each of the above descriptions, and I love each one.

I wish for neither scenario - urban or rural. Suburbia is home to me. I live in what is falsely called a "rancher". It has a large "yard", and sits on a paved cul-de-sac, at the end of a concrete driveway. I have a neighbor to the right, left, front, and behind. I have a mailbox that is exactly 38 steps from my front door. And I have no regrets. I hope to prove that one can be "cutting edge", politically aware, culturally compassionate, and entitled to wear black sunglasses without living in the city. Conversely, one can be wise and earthy, soulful, philosophical and skilled in home arts without the fences and livestock. I do boast an 8-foot privacy fence in my back yard, two poodles who smile at me, and a small ornamental pond stocked with absolutely startlingly huge fish. That comprises our fences and livestock.

Proud suburbanites, we are. We like our street lights, and we find a modicum of lawnmower noise and human contact strangely normal - even pleasing and enjoyable.

Christianity has its share of armchair apocalyptics who forecast coming calamities, prescribing "fleeing to the hills" and personal generators as the solution - as though living a quarter mile from your mailbox is better protection in the event a solar flare throws the super computers into an extended crash. Personally....we don't buy into it. Literally.

Firstly, that "flee to the hills" solution is far too expensive to be practical. We are more into using our very limited resources to tend people, than to spend resources tending fences and cows, as lovely as that life is, I'm sure. Nothing wrong with it. It can just be a bit over-celebrated, as compared to an ordinary home in the suburbs. Country living is not the only option for a well-lived, effective life. It is a good option, if it does not make you narrow, or consume your every last penny and hour. Anyone who can live that lovely rural lifestyle, and who voraciously shares it with others, is someone I'd want for a friend. Please do have me over for the weekend!

Secondly, we are of the opinion that electricity is here to stay. If it goes off, due to flood, fire, or vapor of smoke, they'll eventually get it turned back on. Not only that, but should sudden catastrophe befall (and we certainly believe its possible), we think our best contingency plan is a few good neighbors and a well paved road or two.

Yes, suburbia is under-rated. I think this is largely due to the idea that artists somehow need isolation and transcendent views to be creative. I find my writing inspiration right outside my bedroom window. The parade of life - human, and animal/vegetable/mineral - on my own street provides me with enough food for thought to pound out a page or two daily, artistically speaking.

I encounter the same blue skies, or sunsets, or cloud formations or majestic thunderstorms that a country woman does. It all exists for me here. Having no horses or acreage to tend leaves me more time to enjoy it. I'm just sayin'.

Besides, when I was a kid, a horse bit my little sister in the belly, and I've had a lowered opinion of them since.

My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places...Isaiah 32:18

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