I managed a few moments of quiet reflection and solitude this morning before the chaos of the morning routine with my now 10 year old daughter reached full swing. I know the weather hasn’t cooperated much to this point, and winter has seemed to drag on endlessly.
As I sat in silence, a determined bird made its call to others in the neighborhood, a clear signal, that despite how the skies look or what the temperature gauge reads, spring has arrived in nature.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say many locally don’t share the same optimism as that bird did this morning. State Farm’s announced job cuts and sale of their historic downtown building certainly can cast a pall over our community. The real estate market seems to be languishing. A number of stores are closing. CIRA continues to report declining passenger numbers at the airport. Local governments are raising fees and slashing budgets.
McLean County faces uncertainties and challenges that haven’t been seen in a generation or more. Friends, families, neighbors are being impacted in a very real, very personal way. It is deeply unsettling. Many of the readers of this newsletter have either been affected, or they know someone who has been directly. It can feel hopeless…like this proverbial winter will never end.
As these issues uproot people, we will see the effects firsthand in the social services sector. Because we’ve had it so good for as long as we have, these changes feel even more dramatic and frankly traumatic as lives are disrupted. Our realities have changed and will continue to in the coming weeks, months, and years.
Fundraising is down. Our state is in a financial mess. Needs are increasing, and there don’t seem to be enough resources to go around.
But at the end of the day, Spring is a season of hope, and I’m an optimist who believes there’s nothing that we can’t solve. Look around, and you’ll see buds and hints, both literally and figuratively signaling that things will get better.
Eventually, that bird got others to respond, and in much the same fashion, so will we. As more birds chirped and sang in the early morning, I’m reminded of The Byrds singing “for everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season.” Things happen in their season. Spring is a time for renewal and growth, and I’m confident that we will weather these storms and soon be in full bloom.