Appalachian Thursday – Almost Heaven Isn’t

Sunrise at the FarmI guess it was John Denver who started the whole “almost heaven, West Virginia” business with his “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” A very good song, in my opinion. And an accurate sentiment for the most part.

Goodness knows, when I step foot on the farm that’s been in my family for seven generations I feel about as close to heaven as I can get on earth.


Almost heaven still isn’t heaven.

My dad is facing some tough personal issues including a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. His situation is complex, but the upshot is that the family farm could be at risk. My brother and I are doing our best to save it, but at some point it may be out of our hands. Beyond our means.

And once upon a time, this would have devastated me.

That farm and the seven generations of history it represents are a big part of how I define myself. How I see myself. Like when your identity is wrapped up in your job or your children or your community.

The first time I thought about it, losing the farm felt like losing an arm or a leg. I would live, but it would take some major adjustments and a new way of relating to the world.

But since then I’ve had time to think about it and as much as I love the farm, it’s not really my home. Heaven is my home and there’s no way I can lose that.

I hope we save the farm. I hope we see many more generations of Loudin children running wild in the pastures and the woods. I hope we see the land stay in the family and find new life in future generations.

But if we don’t, that’s okay. Because almost heaven isn’t.


Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

13 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday – Almost Heaven Isn’t

  1. “This world’s not my home; I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” But it would be so sad to not have “the farm” belonging to a Loudin.

  2. What a hard reality to face. We hated to give up our farm on Jones Cove, and we had only owned it for a decade! But you are so right– the things we value here on earth are nothing compared to what is to come. Blessings to you!

  3. My family had a big, beautiful farm in Appalachia. When my grandfather died, the farm was gone except for a tiny corner where a cousin lives. It broke my heart and still does. I so hope you can keep your farm but if you can’t, you can always keep your memories. Maybe life has chosen a different path for you. The world has changed and keeping/maintaining such a farm is a huge financial hardship now. Best of luck to you. I love your post.

      1. I write on many topics, but Appalachia is one of them and I’m actually working on a book about the region. My family is from the eastern Kentucky area of Appalachia which has been decimated by poverty and drugs. I would love for you to take a look at my blog sometime – the posts on Appalachia – and see what you think. Would love your opinion! I’m an experienced writer, but a novice regarding Appalachia. Thanks!

  4. From all of the pictures you have posted on your walks I think you have found a new Home area. Make the most of it… buy a bigger place to roam in, and take down as many “notes” of your memories as you can before they begin to fade. Interview family and neighbors that are left so you can write a memoir. You’ve got the right perspective, but don’t short change what that ‘home’ means to you or the importance of the memories. Love you lots, Aunt Pat

  5. I hate to hear that about your family farm, Sarah. I know how strong that pull can be. We moved back to my WV home, but my husband’s multi-generational family farm in beautiful Upstate NY is still in bankruptcy and it is such a difficult thing for everyone. Our heart is split between the two places, for sure, but for now we know we are supposed to be in WV. Praying things resolve well for your family and God will make his will clear.

  6. We are defined by our heritage. Your Heritage and mine is found in He who is waiting for the “Word” to be given so we can go Home! My prayers are with you and your family!

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