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Diverse, beautiful, strong home

By Jan Penton

Guest Columnist 

Diverse, beautiful, and strong, these words aptly describe the landscape, music, and people of this place I call home.

Her very soil tells a tale. Rich black loam of the Delta speaks of the sweat soaked men and women whom have toiled in her fields.

Red, sticky clay of the bluffs boasts of the breathtaking views from her peaks. Sparkling sand of her beaches whispers of countless lovers, young and old, whose footprints and shared secrets have drifted out with the evening’s tide.

Wind whipped sea oats gaze silently as families taste the salty spray from her gulf waters.

Wizened, old, pines tower above chuckling at hunter and hunted as they ramble through her forest. Fragrant magnolias sheltering magnificent mansions of yesteryear welcome the wafting breeze as visitors delight in the culture and heritage of this largely unsung state.

The rich musical heritage of Mississippi showcases the diversity of her people. From the Blues belted out in smoky juke joints on Saturday nights, to melodious voices lifted in praise to our creator in sanctuaries dotting the landscape on Sunday mornings. Mississippians love their music.

Mississippi quietly graces the world with countless musicians remembered for their great contributions to music. Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters, BB King, Charley Pride, and Faith Hill are just a few of the many who have been widely acclaimed.

The great authors she has shared with the world include William Faulkner, and Eudora Welty. Actor Morgan Freeman has left us with the classic, Driving Miss Daisy, along with many other wonderful additions to our film libraries.

Just as her landscape, music, and other works of art are a delightful mix of vibrant color and sound, so are her people. Each different, and much the same, uniquely gifted by their heavenly Father to fulfill His plans and their own destinies. Her people are beautiful in their humanity and diversity.

Mississippians dream of a tomorrow better than today. We have overcome many storms together. We have struggled through many obstacles in our past. We fought hand and hand through the destruction and change brought to us by Hurricane Katrina. Many are better and stronger people because of the fight.

Today we battle the storm of drugs fighting to steal the minds of our children. We struggle against the winds of immorality sweeping our nation. We fight against ignorance and lack. We long for a land that once again embraces the ideals of our forfathers.

Still we stand, black and white, rich and poor dreaming of a future burning bright with justice, freedom, and opportunity.

We humbly pray for God’s blessings on our Mississippi home, and stand as mighty oaks, remembering the storms, but pressing on.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND.