Sara Beth Times

Sara Beth Wald

Eight years on Main Street

Once upon a time there was a girl who moved away from her small hometown to seek her fortune. And she found it, more or less.
Then she lost it and moved back to her hometown, broken and afraid.
She moved into a little house on Main Street. She built a life. She learned. She loved. She gardened and grew.
And she wrote, and she was awed and grateful when people read what she wrote.
Like all good stories, there is a beginning, a middle and an end.
When asked by “The New York Times” why he was ending his multi-million dollar sitcom at the peak of its popularity Jerry Seinfeld said, “I wanted the end to be from a point of strength. I wanted the end to be graceful.”
I’m no Jerry Seinfeld. Neither my talent nor my bank account warrants that comparison. But I can relate to the desire to sign off before my ideas become stale and redundant.
And this seems like a logical time, as our family begins a new adventure in a new city.
I always knew there was a possibility my husband’s career would take our family someplace else. He’s had other opportunities over the years, but I staunchly refused to move.
But sometimes God opens a door, and He hangs big neon flashing arrows pointing through it, and still you brace yourself against the doorframe, fighting with everything you have to keep things as they are. God takes His foot and plants it on your backside and pushes, but still you fight against it.
Until one day, you just let go.
And all the stress and strain created by fighting destiny is released and you feel at peace, even as things are scary and uncertain because they are changing.
You know things will work out because they did the last time things were scary and uncertain.
I moved into our little house on Main Street insecure and without a sense of self. I am leaving strong, knowing exactly who I am – and just as importantly – who I am not.
I have many people to thank for this, too many to list here. But I think it is crucial that I recognize the place this column has in my journey.
It is a rare opportunity for a writer to have a forum that allows for the kind of creative freedom provided me the past eight years.
And it’s a rare thing that an audience will be so supportive, so forgiving, so attentive.
There’s this publisher named Jacques – because every good story needs a guy named Jacques – who took a chance on a kid with some rambling writing samples and zero columnist experience.
And there are the editors who were honest in all the right ways, even when I didn’t want to hear it. Especially when I didn’t want to hear it.
Editors who were patient and wise... you know who you are. I will never forget you and I will always love you.
How do I thank people who gave me a voice during a time I felt invisible? How do I thank people who introduced me to myself?
And how do I thank my generous audience?
To all the faithful readers who helped me realize that what I have to say has value, “thank you” is not enough but it’s all I have to give.
When one story ends, another begins.
Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in a little house on Main Street who wrote herself into a woman...
What happens next? You just never know.

Sara Wald lives and writes somewhere in Montana.


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