Much Work Still to Do
Author J.K. Rowling once said, “You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.”
I believe it is fairly safe to say that our community pretty well knows itself, and the bonding strengths of our relationships after the last month of our lives. We have endured much.
From the loss of a young mother and child, to the loss of three young ladies, we have all been shaken. It has made us all realize that the things we might think only happen somewhere else, happen here too. It has made us all come face to face with the reality that life is fragile. And, it has brought us some of the darkest days ever in our history.
Across the area today, people are still hurting. It is the kind of hurt and sense of loss that will never completely go away. Yet, in the midst of all of the sorrow, there were glimpses of what makes our little corner of the world so special.
When a need arises here, our community shows up. Whether it be a fundraiser, a need for new clothes after a fire, or simply acts of love to comfort those that are grieving, we are there.
I went to see the memorial far out in the country, on a dusty county road, where people from all over had gone before me. When you get there you see symbols of love and compassion. Handmade memories, stuffed animals, and three simple crosses. It is a sight that instantly moves your heart. Seeing it conjures images of three young lives. In that scene we are placed in a position of remembrance where we see them playing as they once did, walking across a stage, being kids.
It is there that we can have just a slice of the love, compassion and community that was put there by those who loved them, and those who love those still here.
In the last month, our community has wrapped its arms around families that have suffered the kind of loss that most of us pray daily to never feel. We have stepped in to show our love, hold people up, and simply, pray. In so many cases, that is all we could really do.
The five beautiful souls that were taken from us this last month are now in a better place. Those of us that are still here are left to carry on, continue the fight, and be brave. And we will, because there is work to do.
Along with the daily chore of keeping ourselves in a place where we will one day see those who have left us again, there is work.
We must not forget the feelings that we have had the last month. Our compassion and love are things that we need to share every day, regardless. There are others in our community that need to feel it. There are others in our community that need to have arms of love wrapped around them. There is a need not only in our community, but in our country, to heal the divides between red and blue, conservative and liberal, straight and gay, white and black, poor and rich.
And there are very real physical needs too.
Things like making sure the less fortunate have a good Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Things like putting our heads together in a combined effort to give our young people something to do besides playing video games and going to pasture parties. Things like going around our county, and putting reflective markers on country road curves. And things like showing our kids that celebrities and sports figures should not be their role models, because we should be their role models.
And then, we should be those role models and live our lives in a way that our children want to be more like us.
English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, “The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy.” If we were to go along with that theory, we could say that it might be too late for so many of our young people here. So many have already been touched by tragedy.
But, I disagree with Whitehead. Our young people have proven to be resilient.
Out on a lonely, country road there is a cross. On that cross sits a bear, with its arms wrapped around it, as if hugging a memory, or holding on to life, or perhaps, just sharing love.
We can all do that. As I said, there is still much work to do.