The long haul

I have a good friend and a board member who consistently says unfettered optimism is a necessary ingredient for success. And yet another friend, who I often lean on when I need reassurance after disappointment, reminds that she is a pessimist and that she is seldom disappointed and occasionally surprised.

I try to keep it somewhere in the middle. But I always end up back to optimism. Yes, disappointment is inevitable.

This past nearly 12 months has tried us all. Inexorably.

During challenging times in the past, there may have been groups or segments of our community who were going through trying times. But this one has touched every single person. In the world.

Some of us have suffered severe loss of family and friends, or have had our health taken away. Others of us are experiencing economic hardship. Still, others are working around the clock, exhausted, nerves frayed, trying to get through. Just barely hanging on.

We all know this time of year can be bleak. But we are coming up on a year since the first shutdowns.

The Chamber is an organization where events, programs and person-to-person contact are essential to our core mission. We have done our best to improvise, innovate and work around. But nothing can replace people being together. It just isn’t the same. We really thought it would just be for a few months. Now, we hope it is just a few months more.

But then there is the light …

Each day, more people in our community are being vaccinated by so many of the dedicated health care workers here. The efficiency, the professionalism and the kindness of the vaccine administrators have been consistent themes for those who have been vaccinated.

The last two weeks, we have had ice and snow. Our utility workers, our street crews and sanitation workers have worked countless hours to keep things moving. Our paper was on our front porch each morning. And our mail was in the mailbox each afternoon.


Last week, Christians in our community celebrated Ash Wednesday. Reflecting on what to give up and what to add for 40 days, I was surprised at how short 40 seemed. In the past, 40 days seemed like forever. We can do anything for 40 days. We have all proven that.

The light is coming. Let’s remember that when our nerves get frayed and we want to lash out. Let’s remember that when we feel like we cannot go on any more. Let’s remember that everyone is going through some hardship. The light is coming.

By Candance Castlen Brake, The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer