Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Sight to Behold

There are definitely some drawbacks to living in a small town. When friendships are generational people can tend to look after each other’s business. In other words, if you don’t show up to church on a Sunday morning, you may get a call from someone asking you why you didn’t show up. If one of your children stays out late at night everybody will soon know it and the word gets around amazingly fast. If you buy a new car there will probably be some conversations around a table at the local diner questioning whether you can really afford the car you purchased. If you buy some anti diarrheal medicine at the grocery store, someone standing behind you in the checkout line will most likely get the word around town that you have an upset stomach. And you may even see your name on the prayer list at the local church.

If you have never lived in a small town, you cannot understand what I am talking about. If you have lived in a small town you know exactly what I’m talking about.

When you live in a city, people could care less if you make it to church on Sunday. And they don’t care how late your kids stay out at night and they certainly don’t stay up at night worrying if you can afford the new car you just bought. And there certainly won’t be anyone standing in line with you at the grocery store wondering why you are buying the anti diarrheal medicine. They really just don’t give a crap (no pun intended).

For the record, I witnessed the incredible power of a small town this weekend. As you have read here the last few days, a 26 year old friend of our family died this week as a result of a tragic holiday accident. And I can report to you that this family was literally held up by the strength of the community in which they live. On Saturday night perhaps the largest crowd I have ever seen gather for a visitation showed up at the local funeral home. And I have witnessed more than a few visitations in my life. And this afternoon, the crowd was just as large at the church for the funeral service. The Bobby Poole family had to be overwhelmed by the support of all the people who love them.

Somebody asked me this afternoon at the cemetery why I think so many people showed up to support this family.

I think one reason is because of the 26 year old young man who passed away. He certainly was not perfect and like all of us had made some wrong choices as he walked down the path of life. So we all could relate to him. But he was a young man with an incredible gentle spirit who took up time with younger folks and took up time with older folks. If you knew Kevin Poole you loved him. And everybody in the county loved Kevin Poole. You couldn’t help but love him.

Another reason people showed up was because of their love for the Poole family. I have known this family for many years and they are servants. When my dad died 13 years ago, Peggy and Bobby showed up at my parents’ house the day after the funeral not with a plate of food but a full home cooked meal to feed 25 folks. There was more fried chicken than we could possibly eat complete with fresh peas, beans, squash, homemade biscuits and dessert and who knows what else. My siblings could not believe it. They could not believe that anyone would go to that much trouble to cook for our family. They were overwhelmed and humbled at the same time. The truth is there is no telling how many times the Poole’s have been there for folks in their community over the years. One thing is for sure. Our family was not the first family she had cooked for and it certainly was not the last. This weekend was payback. This time they needed someone to serve them. And people showed up in very large numbers.

There is just something special about being a part of a small community. There are drawbacks but when a family experiences a tragedy such as the Poole family is experiencing they get support that you just can’t get when you are a faceless name in a large city. Neighbors literally share one another’s burdens.

The support the Poole family received this weekend was a sight to behold. And the support will continue. And it won’t be long before Peggy and Bobby Poole will show up again at another neighbor’s house whose family is experiencing trouble. And they will serve again. They will still have a huge hole in their heart but they will serve again.

The cycle will continue. And burdens will be shared and lightened.

A small community in the midst of a tragedy is truly a sight to behold.


Judy S said...

That's just the way it is. The DNA might not match, but everyone is family.

Anonymous said...

There was definitely more people than I have ever seen at the funeral home ever before. That speaks for itself. Kevin was loved by all.