Small Town Sweet and Sour: Part 2
The Hatfields and the McCoys. The Montagues and the Capulets.
Family feuds are, unfortunately, a common side effect of human interaction, and they tend to be more common when you live in an isolated community – whether isolated by culture or geography.
When you live in a town where scores of families have held their ground (literally) for more than a century, there’s bound to be some long-standing friction. Grudges and wounds can be passed from one generation to the next just like a predilection for heart disease. Those hereditary hard-feelings are acted out on playgrounds and patios, propagating the problem. No one remembers the original cause for the dislike and mistrust between families, but no one denies its validity, either.
But there’s something wonderful that happens in these small towns that overrides those feuds and fusses and fights. Just like in a family, a big brother might be able to beat up on his little brother, but just let the local bully try to do the same and suddenly big brother is little brother’s staunchest defender.
We’ve witnessed it time and again. Fatal accidents, diagnoses of illness, death of a child or a spouse, the loss of a home to fire or flood, are all catalysts that quench raging feudal flames. You’ve heard the saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Everyone prays when their life is on the line. When tragedy and trauma come to a small community, feuds disappear and are replaced (albeit temporarily) by acts of kindness and support. The community, divided as it may be on any other day, rallies around its injured members until their health and strength is restored.
It’s one of the strengths of the small town. One way in which small town life proves the fabric of humanity is more tightly woven together than any of the holes blown through it by sin, selfishness, and unforgiveness. It’s one reminder that our Creator designed us for love, not hate; for kindness, not cruelty.