There’s a Frank Sinatra song you may have heard where he dreams of escaping “little town blues” and becoming number one, top of the list, and king of the hill in New York. According to Mr Blue Eyes, If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you.
On the contrary, in some ways it’s easier to “make it” in a large city than a tiny town. Easier to blend in, easier to watch but not be seen, to be surrounded by people but separate from them. Easier to be valued for ambition than servanthood. Easier to fake it. These are not luxuries afforded to small town citizens so if one craves having a high position in society instead of making humble contributions to community, it’s best to find a bigger pond. The small town will not suffer you.
Small town is a tiny pond home to many fish that have no choice but to pass one another both going and coming. In a small town, you go to church with some combination of your school principal, football coach, the mayor, and a representative from every branch of first responders. You see your insurance agent at the grocery store and sit next to your hairdresser at the game on Friday night. The tiny pond is high touch, high visibility.
In a small town, you are known and because of the condensed nature of the knowing, your impact is magnified whether good or bad. If the inside vs. outside messaging is inconsistent, you will fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of them. Definitely not all of them.
The sincere of heart are not frightened by this prospect. Rather, they welcome it and they both love and are loved deeply. They touch and are touched. When one hurts, they do not do so alone because the small town is a collective and one’s grief and disappointments are felt and carried by all.
In a small town, when one is taken too soon, like Tabitha’s neighbors in Acts 9, we show all who will listen, “look what they made”, “look what they did”. We share our memories, we post our photos, we show up not because we can fix it but because we can’t, we bear each other up. We weep.
Frank’s Big City doesn’t promise any of these things and if it’s up to me, I will take my chances in our little town. Because one way or the other, we will make it – together.