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'This too, shall pass': Better times ahead

Dawn Hankins
Posted 3/11/21

Most of the time we reflect on the prior year's passing in January. But I felt like it was only appropriate to bring to light in March 2021 the passing of some of those rough waters from 2020. Let's get the doldrums out of the way first. Then I want to accentuate the positive, because there really is a lot to be thankful for in this community...

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Pencil Shavings

'This too, shall pass': Better times ahead


Most of the time we reflect on the prior year's passing in January. But I felt like it was only appropriate to bring to light in March 2021 the passing of some of those rough waters from 2020.

Let's get the doldrums out of the way first. Then I want to accentuate the positive, because there really is a lot to be thankful for in this community.

While we aren't out of the woods yet, we can say this week that we are now seeing, based on Tennessee Health Department and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports, that Bedford County has less than 100 active cases of the coronavirus.

For some, 2020 won't be easy to forget. I too have lost people - close friends - during this pandemic and witnessed family struggle during sickness. Some are still recovering, others weren't that fortunate.

For others, it will be just another memory in time.

There are truly blessings in all of the disruption. We are assured of such. We just have to look deep to understand that statement.

Natural disasters have hit in all forms. Some of our areas are still doing a lot of clean up. Thank you to all the utility services and many others for taking care of us during such a difficult year.

As my dear maternal grandmother used to say, "And This Too Shall Pass" (2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 in the Bible.) Having such faith has certainly sustained many of us during this trying year.

I like to think we're now coming out of the darkness into the light from 2020 to March 2021.

Restaurants' capacities are more relaxed for the most part. Other local businesses are still having to monitor their gatherings, such as funeral homes. Government meetings are still being live streamed.

I am saddened that some businesses did not survive the pandemic. But where one door closes . . . .

It was great to see people this week, working outside, going to meetings, chatting together again in cafes.

This is a sign. Better days are ahead.

Into the light is certain to come progress, if we want it.

People are feeling more secure, now that they've been able to get the vaccine. Others anxiously await their turn.

Your local government has also seen changes; we are saddened by the loss of county commissioners and former former mayors, like Jimmy Woodson most recently. I will always remember his smile when he served as East Side principal.

Remember: not all change is bad, though we will certainly miss those who've served so faithfully, like former city manager Shanna Boyette and now retired school superintendent Don Embry - both who've moved on to other facets of their lives.

Shelbyville has a new city manager, Joshua Ray, who is making every effort to become a part of the local community fabric. Bedford County also finally has in action its long-awaited economic director, Shane Hooper.

This county is growing, according to state data. Maybe not as fast in percentages as some, but that's OK too, given the year we've just been through.

Of course we've all been a bit grumpy this year. One thing that is always constant is that government and education woes will continue.

Here's food for thought from someone who covers a lot of those meetings. When you survey your town, do you envision growth and prospective changes for the future? If you have concerns, please talk to your city or county government officials and even your state representatives, who often make town hall trips here.

It is their jobs to listen to you. And rightfully, try to take action to correct any problems you may be having.

Yes, we've all kinda grown sick of being at home. We local reporters are ready for normalcy as well.

On social media, I've read throughout the year how families have made the best of a lot of quarantine time. Some even discovered new sports and hobbies to share with their kids.

How great is that?

Kudos to our local teachers and staff who have gone way beyond the call of duty this year. As well, thanks to parents and grandparents for helping kids with their virtual learning and dealing with a lot of in-house protocols.

It was nice recently to be at the Central Office once again, covering a school board meeting. I had the chance to go down to the superintendent's office this week and meet Dr. Tammy Garrett.

The place is buzzing over their new leader. She needs our prayers as there is, of course, a lot on her plate.

I anxiously await going back to Shelbyville Woman's Club this week - a non-profit group which always supports the community through its scholarships. I look forward to events planned once again by veterans groups, churches and United Way. There are so many to mention; we've missed their activity.

A group continuing to help those in need is the Community Clinic. Those professionals are really helping the least of these, particularly right now with dental care. There's more to come on that in the paper.

Shelbyville does provide a wealth of opportunity for those seeking. Education is finally addressing the need to help those students who might not relish attending college through career and technical education classes. See Sarah Spray at the school system's central office for more details.

I noticed on social media the other day someone was telling another not to move here, citing all the crime. Yes, we have crime, but right now, what city or county doesn't? This is a global epidemic in itself.

Through the picturesque sunsets and sunrises this week, I've looked at the overall picture of Bedford County and Shelbyville. I believe you will see, in comparison to other towns, we still have a lot to offer in the way of worship, services and goods.

Speaking of the churches, it's been tough. The congregations have really hung in there this year, perhaps suffering the greatest as they were almost rendered immobile last year due to the pandemic. Many churches have caught on to social media live streaming and kind of like it. Others just want normalcy.

Throughout this pandemic, I witnessed volunteers at Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen feeding the needy, the homeless. They just masked up, kept plenty of sanitizer, prayed and continued to feed. Other churches and organizations have done the same. What an awesome group of people we have here.

Local United Way Director Mark McGee told me this week that requests are still coming into his office for school supplies. United Way of Bedford County, he said, continues to try to meet the needs through the social work office.

While we continue to work, we have to pause a moment each day and mourn the passing of over 100 citizens last year to COVID-19. We are blessed, because those numbers could have been much higher.

But my question at this point might be, because of our obvious blessings, what are you going to do with your stimulus check - the next one the government is now promising to arrive very soon? Will you use at least part of it to feed the homeless (yes, we have them) or perhaps to help someone you know who has been out-of-work? Perhaps that's you.

That's none of anyone's business, of course. But here's a suggestion: try to seek out some of our groups, like Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen and Middle Tennessee Spay and Neuter Clinic-non profits who through it all, continued to serve the least of these. They can put your dollars, even if small, to good use.

There are so many that particularly right now need your support. Wouldn't it be great to be blessed for giving someone a meal to feed their children? (Yes, that happens here too.)

Speaking of blessings, aren't the buttercups especially beautiful this year? Or is that just me, because I f

Dawn Hankins is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.