Why I love the South is truly hard to put into words... but it's definitely something I am passionate about. Maybe it's the hospitality, the cheery smiles, the slow paced life. Maybe it's cause I was born and raised here. Maybe it's the warmth and sunshine. I think it's all of the above.
But the dilemma is that the reasons I love the South are beginning to fade away. In the ever changing society and the flood of new habits and hobbies, we are losing the very things we are known for. The South is known for it's genteel manners. Children are taught from early ages the rights and wrongs of etiquette. Honor and respect are valued and held high. Sure, we don't have the best grammar and our words tend to be all slurred and pulled way out of proportion, but hey, at least we talk nice (generally).
The South was known for it's friendly, warm hospitality. When you visited you were heartily invited to join the family and treated with more honor than you could dish up with a soup ladle. Guests were special... maybe more so than the queen of England herself. Life here almost came to a standstill. There was no rushing to and fro, "I gotta get this done, need to go here, have to get this. NOW!". No, we took our time and enjoyed shopping and visiting friends. We enjoy lingering after church and enjoying fellowship meals with one another. Granted, there are times when things have to be sped up and we must meet the demands of a time schedule, but most of the time we take our time. As a dear friend said, "There's never any 'doing' with you guys. It's always 'fixing to'." Yes, we are always 'fixing to' do something (and it will eventually get done) but that's the beauty of life. Rather than rushing through and getting things done, we take our time, enjoy it, and create memories to look back on later.
And then, too... I was born in the South. My family's lived in the South for over 160 years. This is our home, it's in our blood. I am a proud Southerner, and I always will be! I take joy in the culture, mannerisms, and speech patterns of 'my people'. It is here I am home, and to think of living elsewhere (well... besides Cali, but that's a whole 'nother story) seems almost like treason. You can take the girl out of the South, but you can never take the South out of the girl. Ever.
The warmth and sunshine is another thing... life without seeing the sun is... unthinkable. I love the sun, I love the warmth (heat, really, but who really cares?). Can't say I love the humidity, but you know, life isn't perfect. I love to smell the fresh air of the countryside and breath in the smell of the orange blossoms and other sweetly scented flowers. All fed by the sun and rich soil (well... sand for where I live) of the South. I couldn't imagine not seeing cows grazing on green pastureland and driving by thickly scented orange groves. Imagine not seeing the huge, white fields of cotton, strectched out like an ocean. That would be.... sad.
But all of this is fading fast... the hospitality, respect for one another (I mean, we're all just glorified animals now, according to the scientists), the friendly smiles aren't so common, the cities are taking up the farmland, and the only thing left is that life is still somewhat slower.
What will we do when the South is gone? What will we do when the heart of the South has turned stone cold? And these concepts aren't even something that should be all Southern... what if we all stepped up and were a little more friendly? What if we all took the time to enjoy life and all that it gives us? What if, as Christians, we all showed a little more respect for one another? When you come down South, you don't go back the same. What if we all took the time to change a life, and put aside our own agendas for others. Not only would the South come back, but the name of Jesus would be glorified and souls could be saved!
So I suppose my point and challenge is to reconsider your daily life, and make time for some true Southern traditions. Smile a lot, lend a helping hand, face life straight on, take time to enjoy what comes, and respect one another with love in Jesus Christ.