Falling for Julian

God recently called me to something new. And someplace new. I am settling into a new call, a new community, and I find I’m falling for Julian.

Coble’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has stood on the fertile rolling hills of Julian, NC for 210 years. This soil knows well the hands, feet, and plows of generations of local families. Long before they settled here, the soil knew the Cheraw and Occaneechi people.

One of the great gifts of my life is being born to Jim and Lenore Shimota, adventurers. We lived in distant lands and approached new opportunities with an openness that is difficult for some. Our nomadic life when I was a kid and countless shifts and changes in my adult life have meant I don’t have an answer when someone asks, “Where are you from?” Most folks in Julian don’t have to point very far down the road to answer that question.

Some people still stay put. Some families don’t wander far from their homestead. This is a foreign and gorgeous kind of life to me.

When I flip through the church directory, I see the generations of one family live on the same road. When I talk with them, I learn that some of the young generation build a home on a piece of the family property. Not everyone stays, but many do.

My new people eat at restaurants run by their lifelong friends. They buy ice cream from the Bowman’s dairy down the road. There’s a rancher that offers cuts of meat at the front of his property a couple times a month. You don’t always know when – but word gets out that he’s put the sign up.

This life is slower than any I’ve known. Wouldn’t it be just like Jesus to know I was tired and needed to rest a while? Isn’t it just like the Spirit to call me here, where my work is to grow in my understanding of country life and people, to open the Bible with them, to serve the world God loves alongside them until I am one of them?

Eleanor Rigby and I are grateful to God…and to Julian.

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