2020 is surely a banner year for testing our mettle and demanding our bravery. In a challenging environment that changes almost daily, we are called upon to either step up to the task, or be beaten down by it. There are so many that have had virtually insurmountable conditions placed on their daily lives – and yet, I see many of those brave souls stepping up. Venturing out of the familiar and into the void with strength and resolve is leading out, and being brave. Times like these call upon us to do things that we never imagined we would be capable of doing, requiring skills we may never have known we have; and they can push us beyond limits we have set for ourselves – sometimes to our betterment, and sometimes to our detriment.
Being brave is putting your best foot forward regardless of your inadequacies, putting on a fearless smile and being all-in on the situation at hand. Being brave has no lesson manual. You just do it, recognizing that sometimes bravery is not necessarily bold, but meek - but no less strong. You pull up your bootstraps and make whatever needs to happen, happen – but in the context and spirit of respect, teamwork, and collaboration.
I have been thinking of the faces of bravery in the past few months, particularly on the front lines of a pandemic, fires, military strife, civil unrest and social upheaval - from hospital staff, firefighters, police, civic leaders and grocery industry workers, to all of those in industries and callings that put themselves in harm’s way in order to serve others. The overt acts of heroism are astounding - and humbling.
Other acts of incredible bravery are found in ordinary parents who, with little warning, have been thrust into homeschooling their children in a virtual setting; and employees who now work from home trying to make the world right from their family kitchen tables amongst bowls of cheerios; and those business owners who have been forced to shutter their doors, or lose employment, or any of the other devastating ramifications of the Covid-19 challenge.
Whatever hand the fallout of 2020 has dealt to you so far, consider yourself brave for deciding every day to stare down the specter and keep moving forward no matter what. Your efforts to continue on in the face of the stress of this unprecedented time are commendable and inspiring.
Amidst the multi-faceted challenges that continue to beset us, we can still be both responsible and brave as we find opportunities to support our community and keep moving forward towards living our lives as we should be able to live them. Consider the following ways to safely serve our citizens and participate in our wonderful community while practicing socially responsible health recommendations:
- Add your voice! Nothing beats the doldrums more than serving; and fortunately, the Longview Boards and Commissions have many openings. Put your skills and creative talents towards the betterment of our city. Apply online at www.mylongview.com.
- Get lost on an art walk! Visit the Longview Outdoor Gallery located in downtown Longview and enjoy the new podcast audio tour of the twenty-one beautiful sculptures. Podcasts are available on Apple or Spotify. Check it out on http://longviewlog.org/.
- Enjoy lunch outside! In an effort to help local restaurateur’s expand their seating due to the Covid-19 indoor restrictions, the City of Longview offered local eateries free permits to allow outdoor seating. A perfect excuse to try a new place to eat.
- Rejoice in Longview’s growing pains! Harlie’s Hoops has officially broken ground, Archie Anderson Park is getting rid of old structures and making room for the new Satellite Police Station, the Columbia Theater is getting a fresh coat of paint and the Longview Shooting range is permitted to build.
- The Show Must (eventually) go on! We yearn for, and look forward to, so many of our favorite pastime events. The City Council recently approved over $130k of the lodging tax tourism funds to go back into the community in 2021-2022, supporting our beloved events like Squirrel Fest, Go- 4th Festival, sQuatch Fest, Unique Tin, and Crafted Festival. Other allocations went to entities such as Columbia Artists Association, Longview Downtowners, Cowlitz Historical Museum, SWW Symphony, Longview Active Transportation, and the Longview Centennial Celebration. Something tells me that these events will be well attended and welcomed in 2021!
Be well and be brave always,
Mayor MaryAlice Wallis