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Giving thanks for messes & for miracles

I’m not sure about you, but for me the Thanksgiving holiday is always a time of reflection. And while 2020 may not seem like the most pleasant year to reflect on, I think the practice of gratitude is always powerful.

The past year has presented numerous challenges to our local community and nation – a pandemic, economic instability, the loss of loved ones, a never-ending hurricane season and political unrest. The fear and uncertainty surrounding all of these concerns was enough for even the most stoic among us to crack, but this Thanksgiving I’m reminding myself – and the residents of the parish that I love – to give thanks instead of giving up.

When asked what I’m thankful for, my eyes can quickly scan around my home and land on the faces of the people I love. Thankfulness is also felt daily as I do the work that I’m honored to do and serve the community that has trusted me to lead it.

No matter how hard things have gotten, I have been amazed by and proud of the residents and business owners of St. John Parish. Your grit, tenacity and determination have not gone unnoticed. I am thankful for the strength you all have shown this year.

If there’s anything that I can assure you of, it’s the truth of the words penned by Robert Schuller: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

You’re tough, St. John.

Even though 2020 has taken many things away, I feel like it’s also given us all something we desperately needed: a fresh perspective. Cancelled school calendars and cleared agendas gave a lot of us the gift of time, which is something I think we can all recognize as the most precious commodity.

All too often I think it’s easier to complain about the messes of life than it is to remember that it’s a miracle that we’re even alive to complain. Time is a gift and life is a miracle – the messes of 2020 illustrated that very clearly.

My hope is that this Thanksgiving and into the Christmas season we can look around the table, however small that table may be this year, and realize that we all have many things to be grateful for. Taking what good we can from 2020 is just what may lead us all to having a more stable and peaceful 2021.

 

Jaclyn Hotard is the St. John the Baptist Parish President. The Parish Government Office can be reached at 985-652-9569.