With a new job came a new base for my operations so to speak. Or more plainly put we had to move. Moving is a big part of who we are as United Methodists and it has become central to who we are as a family. This is the fifth move that Beth and I have made in our 22 years of being married, and the fourth we have made for appointment reasons. We are experienced in moving, but we are far from experts.
Over the years we have learned how to pack boxes and we have learned organizational tips that help us to get through the chaos. We have learned that with the chaos there is a certain unease that pervades the rest of our lives and relationships. To begin to calm our spirits we have learned to begin acquainting ourselves with the local community as soon as possible. Sometimes that has been quite easy and others it is more difficult. Finding our way in Storm Lake appears to be one of the better transitions.
I have been told that Storm Lake is the most diverse city in the state of Iowa. The school district web site lists 24 different languages in addition to English that are spoken in the district. With that diversity comes many retail stores and restaurants that need to be explored. Just walking down the street you can feel the difference here, people are welcoming and warm. I would be hard pressed to find a more diverse city anywhere in rural Iowa.
The city and the school district strive for the unity that we feel. A highlight of our short stay here was the fourth of July festivities. Personally, I loved their parade. I saw groups of immigrants dressed in their native costumes celebrating their heritage and wanting to be a part of this countries celebrations. I was reminded that most of us can trace our path here to countries far from where we stand now.
It warmed my heart to see the smiles of the young and old alike who were a part of the parade. They played music, sang and marched. There were first responders, veterans, active duty and National Guard units, BVU representatives and people from the hospital, and many people representing many other countries. They all had one thing in common, they all had joined as one to celebrate the birthday of this country. That parade was a great metaphor of who we are, or at least should be as a country.
I say that because there are many in our fine state who in my opinion, do not see the value of unity, including the congressman from this district who was born in this fine city. I have had people turn up their nose when I told them my home would be here. I know of incidents that have revealed the dirty under belly we hope to hide. There is an ugliness in places that make-up can not hide. There is an attitude that is running wild and unchecked.
We must be willing to stand up to what is wrong. Community is important to me. No community is perfect, but I am glad that Storm Lake is trying to promote unity within its residents. There are lessons to be learned everywhere. I hope that churches and communities around the country can look to Storm Lake and learn how to be better at community. I know that it has already had a great influence on me.
I Am Because We Are