2012-07-25 / Opinion

IN MY OPINION

Blessed to live in Marlette
BY DAN BOWMAN, MINISTER
Marlette First United Methodist Church

As my community Marlette celebrates its 150th anniversary, I pause to reflect upon the meaning of this town in my life and to give thanks for the opportunity to live here.

I grew up in the city of Toledo at a time when there were about 350,000 people and graduated from high school in a class of about 300. As you can imagine my experiences in Marlette in the last 14 years have been a little different than the experiences I grew up with.

I never thought much about living in a small town until I met some friends and eventually my wife Celina, in college, who had lived in a small town. I heard them talk about only having a McDonald's or a DQ as being the only place to hang out with friends. I heard about being in a high school where you knew almost everyone in your class by name and that the high school was named after the town. I remembered playing sports on fields that were built among the farm fields but had never really considered what it would be like living there. I was always just passing through.

My mother often wondered what it would be like to live in the country. To live in a small town where everybody knew your name and in big living spaces where you couldn’t hear your neighbor’s TV in the summer time. Places with only a couple of traffic lights and no bumper-to-bumper traffic. But I never understood the attraction.

In 1990 we began ministry serving in small towns. In 1998 we moved to Marlette. There I discovered a town that would become the perfect place to raise our children. It was a place where you walk into a high school basketball game and you see half the town coming out to support the kids. It is a place where people look out for each other and men sit around coffee shops and solve the world’s problems. It’s a place where vegetables and baked goods show up on your porch overnight. It’s a place where the churches and community work together. It’s a place where despite occasional disagreements we grant forgiveness because we are so much a part of each other.

It’s a place where I have loved being able to watch parades from my front porch, I have loved being able to walk to pizza, coffee and football games. It’s a place where we have been greatly blessed to serve God among such good and thoughtful people.

As we in Marlette prepare to celebrate the 150th year of our town I reflect for a moment on the meaning of this little town in the “Heart of the Thumb”. I realize that I am a different and I hope better person for being here and sharing in many good experiences.

I know sometimes people (especially young people) wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else. I know that is normal and I know it is good (especially for young people) to gain other experiences in other places. But, let me offer these thoughts as one who has lived in five different cities and towns: there really is no place like your hometown, and small though it may be, you just may find that it is a bigger part of your heart than you ever knew. You just might realize that you have truly been blessed by the roots that first grew upon your heart in this place. In that truth we have all been blessed!

In my mind, Marlette and the whole Thumb for that matter are truly a special place with special people, and thankfully it will always be a part of me. Thanks Marlette! I am blessed!

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