Expressing gratitude communicates the lasting value you place on relationships now separated by distance.
Making the tough decision to move away
Last spring, Sharon and I decided the time had come to leave the small, rural community of Lovington, IL, and move to Springfield, IL. Our goal was to live closer to our oldest daughter, her husband, and our four granddaughters.
Although we moved around quite a bit early in our marriage, we met many incredible people, and we treasure those friendships. Subsequently, as we were preparing to sell our home, we struggled with our decision to move away from Lovington.
Leaving proved more emotional than I had ever imagined. Undeniably, this relocation would separate us from good friends, neighbors, and the community we called home for 25 years. However, despite mixed emotions and occasional doubts, we still felt it was time to make this move.
Overall, we had tremendous support from our adult children. Our realtor, bankers, some skilled contractors, and the encouragement of good friends helped in the eventual success of this process.
Five months later, on September 10, 2021, we closed on the sale of our house in Lovington.
Today, Sharon and I live in Springfield, IL. We own a small, comfortable home in a quiet neighborhood. We are blessed, once again, to live on a street with good neighbors. They’ve made us feel like we are welcomed.
Fortunately, our house is three-tenths of a mile (walking distance) from our oldest daughter and family. We are so grateful to them for all they have done to help us settle into our new home and community. It’s a joy to spend time with our granddaughters and watch them grow up under the guidance of their parents.
Our son, our youngest daughter, and her husband own homes in Carbondale just a couple of hours away. We enjoy seeing them more often. In fact, our new location makes getting our children and grandchildren together for family visits much more convenient.
These blessings bring joy and happiness to our lives. Despite some personal health annoyances due to getting older and a long list of “house projects,” I never knew life could be so good.
The one thing I would do differently
Despite the way everything worked out, I sincerely regret leaving Lovington without thanking the many who played such a positive role in our lives. I kept telling myself I would get around to it, but there was always something else to do. So, I kept making excuses and continued to put off these conversations.
Well, it’s time for me to set aside excuses and express my appreciation to many remarkable people who live in the community we called home for so many years.
These people include:
- The Bowers family – The former owners of Moultrie Independent Telephone Company and One-Eleven Internet Services, Inc. This family of talented individuals dedicated themselves and their businesses to offering telecommunications services in the community for over 60 years. I’m grateful to them for trusting Sharon and me with meaningful work and significant responsibilities. Every day, they came to work and showed what it takes to be a first-rate employer.
- Co-workers – My experiences working for the Bowers family included working with some of the most talented, exceptional employees I’ve ever met.
- Neighbors – Sharon and I enjoyed the blessing of thoughtful, considerate neighbors and many friends throughout the Lovington community and Moultrie County.
- Skilled volunteers – Volunteer firefighters, EMTs, and ambulance drivers train and work tirelessly. They are devoted to their roles and available on-call 24/7 to protect and serve the community and area residents. Their skill has helped save countless lives and properties in our local area.
- Public officials – For 25 years, I’ve watched individuals from Lovington devote themselves to public service and the fiscal responsibilities of their community, township, and county government entities. This group includes past and present elected (and appointed) officials, board members, and municipal employees.
- First Christian Church – These faithful church members brought me to Lovington as their minister 25 years ago. It was my privilege to serve the congregation for three years.
- Faculty, administrators, and staff of the Lovington School District – These resourceful professionals provided a solid educational experience for all three of our children.
- Churches of the Lovington area – Lovington’s ministers and church leaders faithfully serve their congregations and work together to reach out to the community.
- Shawnee Communications – These talented business professionals have proven their commitment to good customer service. They deliver high-speed broadband services to the Lovington area over a dependable, fiber-optic network.
- Business owners and independent contractors – From brick-and-mortar to home-based businesses, these courageous, hardworking people offer many excellent services throughout the community.
I’m also grateful to those who served as:
- Police officers and Sheriff’s Deputies
- First responders
- Public health professionals
- Road commissioners
- Fire district trustees
- Drainage commissioners
- Library trustees
- Various board members
- And those involved in other critical services needed to support a strong community.
A final word of thanks
Lovington, IL, is unquestionably a community filled with many who exemplify the values of hard work, love of family, dedication, and selflessness. The roles they fill are not always easy and may often seem thankless, but these incredible people have made this community, a wonderful place to call home.
And so, to our good friends and neighbors in Lovington, IL, we leave you with the following message:
Although separated by distance, Sharon and I are grateful for the positive impact you’ve had on our lives. We will always value your friendship. It was a privilege to live in your community. We wish you the best for your health, happiness, and prosperity. Most importantly, we want you to know that we will sincerely miss you.