Even though I’ve lived away for more than a decade, Idaho will always be home to me. I love the mountains, lakes, beautiful open skies, the farm fields and even the lava rocks and sage brush along I-15. Of course, what makes it home are the people and the memories. Idaho gave me the most important parts of my life. In addition to my family, both the one I grew up in and the family I married into, Idaho gave me a love of church and country.
I used the phrase church by design. I am indeed a person of faith, but I’m also a religious person. Other than home, my first lessons on how to be a functional family and how to treat each other came from church. Sure there were plenty examples of what not to do from some in the church crowd, but I figured that’s why we go right? Churches are hospitals for sinners not museum for saints. My faith and religion have seen me through my darkest days and given me my greatest joys!
Also my Idahome gave me my love of country. I do get frustrated with the politics of the state. It at times seems to celebrate unwarranted certitude and embrace intellectual leanness. I don’t miss the quixotic attempts to change the politics of the place. The states conservatism seems as bedrock as its mountains. However, Idaho is where I learned and experienced how the government works–how it can really be a power for good. I am the product of public schools and universities, Pell grants and subsidized student loans. All of these programs helped me obtain my education and changed my life. I spend a lot of time on and around some of the most prestigious campuses in the country. I am so thankful that a quality education is not limited to those schools.
This last winter I visited my undergraduate institution Idaho State University (go Bengals!) I was alone and had an hour or so to kill. It was an unplanned stop on my way to visit family. My emotions got the better of me. I was overcome with feelings of gratitude for my education and the opportunities it has given me.
I can honestly say without my religious faith or my education I can’t imagine how my life would have turned out. I appreciate this is not everyone’s experience with church and state. I get that. But it worked for me and I am eternally grateful for it. I’m going to do my best to remember and pay tribute to the legacy it gave me. Like the state song says:
There’s truly one state in this great land of ours
Where ideals can be realized.
The pioneers made it so for you and me,
A legacy we’ll always prize.
Thanks Idaho for all the Awesome!