living in Mayberry

We took our kids to Mayberry last week. Actually, we spent a day in Mt. Airy, NC, Andy Griffith’s hometown. The town has capitalized on his fame and the show’s popularity, modeling shops and eateries in the tradition of Mayberry. Floyd’s Barbershop still offers haircuts, and pork chop sandwiches are available at Snappy’s Lunch. We had a great time, stepping back in time and imagining what life must have been like in Mayberry—a simpler time.

Or so it seems.

A simpler time. A sweeter place. A lesson. A laugh. A father and a son.

Could it be? Is there a Mayberry calling our names, wooing our spirits to its borders with promises of a simpler, sweeter life? A life filled with lessons, laughter, and sacred fellowship between a father and a son?

I know my heart cries out for it. Not just in the sweet by-and-by when I make it home to heaven, but now. I want a simpler life on this side of eternity. One that includes casual strolls down Main Street, leisurely lunches with favorite friends, and an unhurried pace so that I might learn a lesson or two from my Father along the way.

I’m off to a good start. There’s a spirit of Mayberry in this place I now call home. Really, it has little to do with my new address. Yes, the town’s population numbers less than my previous location. There are fewer stoplights and less traffic. Fewer stores and less bargains. Quieter living and less accumulation. Certainly, these “lessers” add to the calm in my spirit. But I don’t think the spirit of Mayberry is fully contingent on these lessers. Perhaps living in Mayberry has less to do with the location of our bodies and more to do with the location of our souls.

Mayberry lives next to Jesus. Find him, and you’ll find a simpler, sweeter place. A lesson or two for your soul. Some laughter and a Father who calls you son. Daughter. Child. Beloved.

This is good news for all of us, whether you’re currently living at a slower pace in a small town or running in the fast lane of a fast life in a fast city. Regardless of your physical address, I imagine there are times when your spirit, like mine, cries out for Mayberry.

Might I offer you a few tips for the journey?

Find your map. My hunch is that it is probably sitting next to your bed or housed on a shelf close by. If you want to live in Mayberry, the shortest route between where you are today and where you want to be is through the Word of God. Find this map, and you’ve found your starting point.

Read your map. Don’t just hold it in your hands; don’t just carry it with you to work or church to pretty up your exterior. Owning the map to Mayberry won’t land you safely home. You must be willing to study it, plot your course, choosing your route and your exits with holy consideration.

Take the map with you as you take your trip. On your way to Mayberry, you will (more than likely) weed out and leave behind the non-essentials. In fact, I encourage you to do so. There comes a time when we should travel lighter, ridding our lives of the clutter and chaos that weigh us down and stymie our forward progression. But along the way and as we go, keep hold of your map. Refer to it on a regular basis, less you take that wayward, wandering road in the wrong direction. Getting home to Mayberry is far easier with map in hand.

Commit to the map. Believe in it, and by God’s empowering spirit and grace, walk it. Through valleys, over mountains, along the highways, by the streams, and in the desert. The map isn’t flawed and will never lead you to a place where the Father hasn’t first placed his foot. Commit to the map, and you’ll find Mayberry. You’ll put down roots and call it home.

A simpler time. A sweeter place. A lesson. A laugh. A father and a son.

Mayberry lives next to Jesus. He is where you’ll find me today, and I’ve put in an order for two pork chop sandwiches. Won’t you join me at the table? I’d love some company. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

25 Responses to living in Mayberry

  1. You have me whistling the theme song!

    You know, where I live now is much like Mayberry. A small, quaint mountain town. Simpler, slower, quieter. And yet, I have been disturbed to discover how much of the *city bustle* still lurks inside of me. I find many spiritual correlations in that – how the enemy strives to seduce me with the lure of busy-ness.

    However, God has taught me much in this last year on His mountain. One, that there is blessing in solitude – a greater sense of His Presence. Two, that there is much He wants to say when I am slowed down enough to listen. And finally, that no matter where I am, HE is there.

    I so loved this post. And it came at a great time for me to hear your insightful words. Yes, the Word of God has become my friend – a comfort, a solace, an oasis – a map to guide me through the ups and downs of living.

    Scoot on over, Elaine – I’m having a sandwich with you…


    • I’d love to share a table with you, Sharon. Like you, I’m finding solace and sweet companionship with the Lord. It’s been a beautiful time of fellowship.

  2. What an absolutely phenomenal post! Such wisdom, truth, simplicity! I love it. I find that it is difficult for me to get myself in a Mayberry mindset because I often don’t slow down long enough for it to fall on me. I tend to live in the tomorrow or the what if and not the now and what is. This post reminds my heart, soul, and body to SLOW DOWN. Live in the moment. Grasp the hand of Jesus and walk in the now. I’m gonna head toward Mayberry today!

    • It’s helped me a lot, Leah, to move to this smaller town. It agrees with me. Really, I think I could live anywhere, but there’s something about country living that allows me to breathe a bit more.

  3. Loved it. You have me wanting to GO! As it was when I first happened upon your blog years ago–I was taken with your wording–as it captured the essence of what I felt but failed to be able to word…Your gift from our Father is an incredible one of insight and wisdom… I am blessed to know and read!

    • You bless me with your presence, Angie. Thank you for your kind words and for staying the course these many years. I feel so honored to have met both you and your sister at our first SS!

      • Elaine I do too…that felt good to be able to sit beside someone I knew–even though I’d not “met” you in person…I still felt I knew you!
        The last SS conference–I felt like a fish out of water. The trip had been “given” to me by a dear friend and her mother…they–so hoping I would find my “niche”…(Ministry). I was a fish…still am many days. 🙂
        There was so much “God talk” and God hearts all around…wisdom and prayers…it took me quite by surprise this time. I was glad I went in the end…but still asked God all the way home “why did You send me”…
        I was VERY glad for the familiar faces–and exceptionally glad to be able to be with Betty, Barbara and Tiffany. They were such a breath of life–to me–one who was struggling at times with “life stuff”.

  4. “I want a simpler life on this side of eternity. One that includes casual strolls down Main Street, leisurely lunches with favorite friends, and an unhurried pace so that I might learn a lesson or two from my Father along the way.”

    Yes, this is what I long for…that simpler life. All too often, I find myself living life in the fast lane. I would LOVE to share lunch – or a cup of coffee – with you, my sweet friend.

    Love you…

    • We’ll do it, friend! Hopefully sooner rather than later. Of course, nothing beats my first memories of Mayberry. You and Bill are forever a part of our story. We love you.

  5. I love what you wrote, “Perhaps living in Mayberry has less to do with the location of our bodies and more to do with the location of our souls.”

    Great post. Less IS more isn’t it.
    Love ya,

    • I’ve spent quite a while trying to whittle down my more, Nancy. I’m finally reaping the benefits of months of hard labor. Less IS more! I can finally breathe again.

  6. wifeforthejourney:

    After a long break from blog-land, its good to be back! Reading your latest post was a great remembrance of a good trip; memories made and lessons learned. Mayberry is a good place, and not just the stuff of TV Land. Keeping company with Jesus makes all the difference, whether our path lands us in a big city or on the dirt road. Today I’m thankful for our new home, our new church and our new life together in the Sandhills of southeastern NC. Andy and Opie haven’t stopped by by yet, but the Lord is certainly present in this place!

    Thanks for all you do to make our house a home, our family functional and our faith on target! Love you!

    ~ Billy

    • In these past three weeks of living here, I wake up each day, sweet man of mine, and say, “Do I really get to live here? Is this my home?” What blessings are falling upon us in this new season. I’m so glad we get to walk it together . . . almost 16 years now. Happy early anniversary.

  7. I’d love nothing better than to live in such a place. But like you said, we CAN live it in our hearts. How the enemy battles us for that though. This was a great post! I love that you are loving your new location! Blessings!

    • I wish you were right here, Debbie. Small town living has great appeal for all of us who have lived long enough to “get over” the fast-pace draw (and drama). May God grant you the gift of his presence in small and unique ways as you tarry in this busy world. He loves you so.

  8. Elaine~
    I loved this post! The word ‘simplicity’ is where God seems to be taking all of us (who know Him) right now! It must be His preparation to what is coming next! I would love to join you there for lunch too! Oh how sweet it will be!

    Choosing JOY,

  9. Happy Anniversary, Elaine and Billy. And next time you go to Mt. Airy, look up the place called Mayberry which if east of there, I think, on the parkway. There’s also a book about this area called “The Man Who Moved a Mountain” a Presbyterian pastor who singlehandedly brought great change to that part of the country and is responsible for the rock facades on many of the churches such as the one in Mayberry. Glad you took a couple days to relax!

  10. Just a quick note – we almost lost *Mayberry* last week. We were evacuated in the middle of the night on Wednesday due to a raging wildfire that came less than a mile from our home and quaint little town. We were finally able to come home on Sunday night.

    I am praising the Lord for His protection – and for the way He enabled the many firefighters to make a heroic stand.

    We are grateful for His grace – and never more grateful to look at the moon rise over our mountaintop.

    Can we have that sandwich now, please??? 🙂


    • Oh Sharon, this is very scary. I’m praising God with you for his protection over you and your home! I’ll be by soon to sit on your front porch for a spell.

  11. Elaine, being next to Jesus is indeed a sweet place. Love how things become clearer and simpler when I turn to him. By the way, so glad you all are enjoying your new home!

  12. When we lived in Arizona I was often heard telling people we lived in a Norman Rockwell world. Our community, Verrado, boasted porches, tree-lined streets, bike trails & many parks. Going to the grocery store felt like going home, where aisle chats were common.

    I so relish the slow gait this chapter of life affords. You are a wise lady to “get it” so early on.

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