Every day it seems like, more and more, I become my parents. Isn’t it funny how that happens? Sometimes it can be disturbing. But…sometimes…I really love it. This is one of those times.
Growing up… oh I’d say I can remember this from about the age of 10 or 12 and until he died 4 years ago… my father would exhort in some form or another “This is God’s country!” or “Oklahoma is God’s country!” or “When you movin’ back to God’s country?”
As a child, I didn’t think much about those comments,
but as I approached 17, 18 and up through the decade of my 20’s, I would roll my eyes, either overtly or in my mind, and think “You have got to be kidding!” This is one of the dullest, ugliest places I have ever seen. I mean, how about the Rocky Mountains
or the Pacific Ocean
Matt with Henry on his back 6 years ago on the Oregon coast
or even a desert or a canyon or SOMETHING for crying out loud.” I vividly remember thinking when I was a senior in high school “I’m getting out of this place and I’m never coming back.” Oh my, that statement makes me shudder.
Well. As you can see. My plan did not work out. And, by the way, I learned a long time ago. Never say “Never.”
My husband and I met and moved back here in 1995
By that time I was in my mid-thirties and had been living in Los Angeles for 8 years. Prior to that, I lived in San Antonio, TX for 8 years. Four years of University and four years in the work force. So after 16 years in 2 big cities and through a series of interesting events (I need to tell you that story later) we decided to start our life together in Enid, America Oklahoma. The town we both had grown up in. Matt would be moving back here from working at the Department of Energy in Washington DC.
I couldn’t believe it. But here I was.
Moving back to the place I said I would never return to. But I knew…..we both knew, it was the right thing to do. Somehow, it was a God-thing.
For the first 5 years we lived here, I was in culture shock
I missed the restaurants, the grocery stores, the geography and the excitement. Los Angeles was alive and this place felt, well, dead to put it bluntly. But, at the same time, I was sick of the big city and how EVERYTHING you did was a hassle. It was a hassle to get gas in your car. It was a hassle to go to the grocery store. There was always traffic, and back then people didn’t have cell phones to while away the time of a commute.
Fast Forward to living in Enid
I remember one day Matthew and I were driving out in the Oklahoma countryside and he said “Look at those hills. They are really beautiful.” Say what? What hills? There isn’t a hill around here as far as the eye can see. What the heck are you talking about?” He then pointed to a very slight rise in elevation of the land way out to the west. “Ok. I guess I can see that. But honey. Are you telling me that you really think that is a hill? And, might I add, there ain’t one thing beautiful about it.”
Well. I’m definitely eating my words now.
Fast Forward again to about a month ago.
We just returned home from a week of vacation in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.
It’s beautiful. No doubt about it. Magnificent.
And we spent most of our time fishing and hiking
That’s Emma-babaloo (as her daddy calls her)
and I am grateful for the opportunity.
It was wonderful to be in the midst of that beauty.
But….there was something about it….something else….it’s been hard for me to articulate…you may not understand me at all on this, and I would understand that.
About 2 days before the end of our vacation,
I had the first stirrings of wanting to come home. Huh? I haven’t been here in 3-4 years. Haven’t had a real vacation of any length in that amount of time. Chill girl. You have forgotten how to experience a new place; how to have a good time. But no…. I don’t think that was it.
I was having a hard time connecting with God
Oh, He is always there – just waiting for us to call on Him, but my impetus to connect with him was lacking for some reason. Hmmm. What’s up with that? I mean, here we sit among gorgeous mountains, lakes, scenery.
But we were also hanging out in a lush, money-driven, high-falutin’ ski resort built for luxury.
Usually, if you go here, you WILL spend a lot of money.
We had an old family place to stay in and in the summer, fishing and hiking don’t cost a penny I’m happy to say.
But all around us, this lifestyle of luxuriating in wealth and riches and beautiful clothes, cars, restaurants, and jewelry was palpable and invading my senses, and after 4-5 days started to become nauseating.
By the end of the trip, I couldn’t wait to get home
I couldn’t wait to see my wide, open spaces and feel God again. Of course, God was there, but something about this place distanced me from Him. It reminded me of something I heard Garrison Keillor say on a radio show soon after we moved back to Oklahoma. “People in the central part of the country don’t have time for self-help, finding themselves, etc. etc. They are too busy swatting mosquitoes.”
Finding God Through The Stuff
After moving to Oklahoma from Los Angeles , a self-help, self-involved haven, I totally understood that comment. For me, when there is everything a person might ever need within easy grasp, finding a need for God can become obscured by the stuff.
I’m not saying we won’t go back to Colorado. Maybe there is more to this than I have explored. We are blessed to have a nice place there that we can stay in for very little cost, and for a beautiful change of scenery, but…..I don’t know….time will tell.
Just one more look around?
About 1/3 of the way home, we stopped in Colorado Springs for some touring around, but I was still chomping at the bit to hit the road. To leave this place too. We had to spend the night somewhere. Matthew asked if I wanted to stay overnight there or drive on a few more hours to some small town in the middle of nowhere. PLEASE. TAKE ME TO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!
As we got into the flat ground of Kansas and then Oklahoma,
it was getting close to dusk. We passed by farm after farm and the sky was more beautiful than I’d ever seen it. Blues, grays, pinks, purples, oranges, reds, lots of clouds. It was perfection. I was close to jumping out of my skin I was so thankful to be home and so amazed at the beauty. And believe it or not, I didn’t take a picture. Huh? You gotta be kidding! Well, all I can say is that I was consumed with the experience. I’m kicking myself now. I suppose if I considered myself a professional photographer I would have. Guess I better start thinking that way if I’m ever going to be able to explain things to anyone.
I did find this picture of our girls about 5 or 6 year ago.
Anyway, I can’t help but think God has something special planned for this state. Oklahoma. With the craziness of our world, a place like this is just what most people probably need.
This was taken about 10 years ago. I’m on the left with my parents.
Yes, Daddy. I think you were right all along. This IS God’s Country. Forgive me for being such a headstrong thing. Your wisdom continues to pervade my consciousness and will be a lasting legacy.
Loved that!! AWESOME pic of you and your parents!!! Auhhhh…
I would mind a little piece of God’s country right now. I love the pictures………
I hear you about being in the midst of a material world! My soul longs to live away from the swirl of our society. We are taking small steps now to live a simpler existence, despite where we live. But we pray that one day we will have similar views out of our windows!
Allison, this is nothing short of spectacular! The sublime, esoteric nature of our precious land is what was infused into you by your precious father, and, even though I did not have the pleasure of knowing him, would venture to say that he knows that “headstrong thing” you are is exactly what he wanted, no KNEW was in you and kept calling back to it his words, resonating with the Word & Life that flows in and through, and, dare I say it, into your very own precious children!! You are an awesome and gifted wordsmith, dearest. Thank you for blessing us with the precious thoughts of your heart!!
I really hate it when Okies post stuff like this about our state. They rag on the scenery then point to some generic American destination out west as the real beauty. It saddens me that these types of Okies, that never really traveled the state feel qualified to comment.
I see that you have never been to the eastern part of Oklahoma – especially the SE.
There are areas in Oklahoma that far surpass anything you will find out west in the Rockies when it comes to serenity and beauty. I suggest you gather the family and head down Indian Nation turnpike for a weekend. If you are not familiar with the Talimena Highway or Beavers Bend, make yourself aware. You might also want to see Green Country around Tahlequah. The Illinois river basin is paradise.
Where in Oklahoma did you live, Texas county? Those pictures were not by any means an accurate depiction of the greatest state God created.
With all due respect I must say it seems as if you only read the first paragraph of this post. If you read all of it, you will see where I am from (one question you asked) and you will see this post is a story of my transition from a surly teenager to a woman who truly loves Oklahoma and sees every bit of beauty in it. Thanks for your comment :)
I do apologize. You must understand that being a lifelong Oklahoman, I have encountered countless people who take one look at a wheat field in the panhandle, then report back to people in other states with blanket descriptions. I live in AZ now and you should hear some of the ignorant things people believe about our state. I bite my lip all the time. I want to tell them that we have it better and they are completely oblivious.
I have met countless Oklahomans that have never traveled outside Tulsa or OKC and say the very same things. I love Oklahoma. I love the Southern kindness, the food, the music etc. I have lived outside Oklahoma several times but always maintained my Okie status. I can say that the grass is not greener.
I am sorry for misunderstanding your post.
Thank you! This is a very nice story. Finally someone actually expressed what I have in my heart about Oklahoma! I was not able to put it into words but you did it for me. I have visited the state 3 times for the past 6months and when I visited OKC very first time, I felt something different about the city. The more I visited, the more I got attracted to OK. Although I have only visited OKC, Norman and Stillwater, I really love these cities. It is very peaceful!!! Living in Las Vegas is very crazy and stressful but I can completely forget about the madness and stress while I was in Oklahoma. For sure, I will consider moving there in the near future. Boomer Sooners!!
Thank you!! I love it here! :)
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