The best part of going to school in Pittsburgh, but living a short drive from home, is that I can still go home to get my daily dose of country. Fall just doesn’t have the same effect in the city as it does in the sticks. Thankfully, fall break at Pitt allowed me to enjoy five glorious days in my hometown filled with pumpkin painting, high school football, apple cider, and colorful leaves (basically everything you’d expect fall to be).
Before I left to head back to Pittsburgh, I had to pay a visit to two of my favorite people in town.
Most people in the Tri-County area are familiar with Hepler’s Country Store. We’ve all stopped in once or twice (some of us may try to avoid visiting if we can help it so we don’t spend our entire life savings), but a trip to Hepler’s is never just for the shopping spree. It never fails to amaze me how Hepler’s is just this little backwoods store that seems to be filled with magic and wonderful people. (Believe me, Carhartts are magic and the people truly are wonderful).
For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to have ever been to Hepler’s, let me introduce you to two incredible people. Angel and Nona have become two of my biggest supporters and advocates for this blog. It’s reassuring to know that there are amazing ladies in the community I live in who believe in me and what I write, and are always supportive of what I have to say. They’re both genuinely nice people, incredibly thoughtful, and friendly. More than that, as adults, they’re insightful. That’s why it’s always so nice to chat with them about life so I can get an adult perspective on what I’m thinking.
Therefore, when I drop by Hepler’s, it’s never just a quick trip to pick something up. And the other day was no different.
Since these two lovely ladies are huge blog followers, they asked me right away why I’ve been slacking (they said it a lot nicer, but I really have been having writer’s block!). So the three of us tossed ideas around for what I could possibly write about next. As I browsed the store I mulled over a few of them, but none of the ideas themselves were really jumping out.
Instead, all I could think about is a simple phrase that Angel had said to me.
I talk about life a lot with Angel. She tells me about her kids (if I’m half the mother she is someday, I’ll be content because it’s obvious how much her kiddos love her), and I talk about school. This conversation was different though. We talked a lot about the future. Where school was taking me, and how I was going to get into my dream career, you know the usual stuff people ask a 21-year-old junior in college. I gave Angel a lot of “I don’t knows” because I don’t? I have a dream job but I’m not sure how to get there? And she said the most incredible and simple thing to me; she told me to pray.
From the outside, I don’t seem to be a religious person by any means. I’m not an over-bearing, shove it down your throat, make sure you go to mass every Sunday, and don’t break any of the commandments Catholic. I wear a cross around my neck and have a rosary hanging on my rearview mirror. Sure, I try to go to church every Sunday. I endured 13 years of Catholic education, but my mom still has to remind me of holy days of obligation to make sure I go to church. I have differing viewpoints from what the church teaches too. Where the church has a relatively strong standpoint on same-sex marriage, I don’t believe it’s an issue for the church to decide. I’m a firm advocate for the death penalty, as well as a pro-choice supporter. And let me tell you, I’m more than well aware that my guardian angel has a full-time job keeping up with me, but that doesn’t stop me from believing in God and living my faith in my own way.
You don’t have to go to a church to pray.
Prayer is everywhere. I try to remember to say a little prayer every night before I fall asleep, and I never forget every morning to thank God for giving me another day on this earth.
The quote, “Airports have seen more sincere kisses than wedding chapels, and hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches,” makes my point.
God is a continual presence, not just found in a physical structure. So send an extra little prayer up to the big guy to let Him know you’re thinking about Him all the time and not just when you desperately need or want something.
But with the unfathomable number of tragedies, such as shootings that happen much too often anymore, something is wrong. In my opinion, radical people who want to stir up trouble are the root cause of these catastrophic events, and it’s because religion is escaping this country.
I’m not saying that it should be added to the constitution that everyone must attend a religious service, but I’m saying that people need to be reminded that God and religion are what this country is rooted in.
God should remain in the pledge of allegiance. For almost 100 years, America has been, “One nation, under God,” and that should never change. Taking God out of the USA will make our problems worse. The only way we will ever have a moral society is by teaching kids that there is a higher power rather than letting them grow up and causing mayhem.
Without God at the root of our country, it’ll continue to decline. More senseless shootings and violence will occur, drug use will continue, divorce rates and broken families will increase, and we will continue to crumble until we no longer can hold on.
Two hundred years ago this country was built on faith. So maybe each of us just needs to pray a little more? Maybe something as simple as that will make this a better world to live in?
One can only hope – and pray.
To my Hepler’s ladies, thank you for finally getting me to write again.
And Angel, thank you for your advice. It’s the best I could’ve possibly received.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
- Romans 12:12