Like most people, I grew up with a nagging desire to leave my hometown and explore more of the world. That desire hasn’t gone away, but as Lydia and I have stepped outside of all that we’ve known and loved for the first time in our lives, we’ve come to recognize the beauty and wonder of Kansas.
My wife and I grew up in a town called Augusta. It’s a beautiful little town surrounded by flat country plains “where the deer and the antelope play.” That line comes from the Kansas State song. With one short drive outside my hometown, you’ll see that it bears witness to the truth. I’ve seen many a deer standing out in those wheat fields.
On a clear day in Kansas, you can watch the sun rise all the way from the East horizon down to the Westward fields. There are no mountains and the hills aren’t too tall, so there’s n0thing to block the view. Kansas is full of starry nights, and it doesn’t take much to get away from the city lights. You can see everything from the Big and Little Dippers to Ursa Major (a horselike constellation) to the moons of Saturn. It’s full of a calm peace that you might not find elsewhere.
Then there’s the Kansan tribe (of which we still claim our membership). They’re a kind people, who, like that famous saying, “would give you the shirt off their back(s).” Kansan’s are farmers and teachers and eye-doctors and mechanics and cosmetologists and preachers and photographers and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and more. The Kansan farmer knows more about grain and dirt and photosynthesis and weather than I’ll ever know in my entire lifetime. But at the end of the day, people in Kansas (and the wider world) are much more than their work title or vocation. Like all human beings, Kansan’s are a diverse and beautiful people made in the image of God.
More personally, Kansas is full of family. Both my family and Lydia’s still live in our hometown. We couldn’t be more grateful for the family that God’s given us. Our parents are wonderful people who have loved, supported, and prayed for us since the day we were born. They’ve taught us how to be kind and have fun and work hard and forgive people and love well and keep our heads up, and we’re still learning from them. Our siblings are the awesomest (I have to use that word) people around. They’re a hardworking crew, but know how to have some fun! Whether it’s rodeos with Luke, Science Olympiad with Josh, or Art and Creativity with Hannah, they’re great at what they do. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our family. We love you guys!
Then there’s our Kansas friends. Oh goodness, these people. From church to school to mission trips to all-nighters, these people have become dear to our hearts. They’re the people we did life with. They’re the people we struggled with. They’re the people that were at our sides when we most needed them, and hopefully we were the same for them. Both young and old, our friends in Kansas made deep impacts in both of our lives and we’ll never forget ‘em. They’ll always be dear to us. We love you guys too! (Not all pictured here).
Lydia and I have found ourselves elsewhere for the time being, but Kansas will always be home. Yes, we’ve made friends in Louisville and have become apart of a local church and are enjoying our time here. Louisville’s a weird city (a popular saying around here is ‘Keep Louisville Weird’) full of good food and great people. Our friends in Louisville are wonderful and we thank God for providing us with such people to do life with here in Kentucky.
As I mentioned before, our home is where our family is. Kansas will always be full of funny memories and flat plains and starry nights and kind people. It’s where we were born and, who knows, it might be where we return. It’ll always be that familiar place that has an inherent homey-ness to it. Life is interesting; you don’t always recognize the blessing of it all till you step outside of it. And when you do, it’s beautiful.
Kansas, we love you. Wherever we are, you’ll always be home to us.
Grace and Peace,
Drake & Lydia
All Photographs in this post were taken originally by Drake and/or Lydia Burrows