Optimism and smiles just In time

Do you feel it? Do you feel the sense of renewal and hope?

Friday After Five kicked off its 25th Anniversary and a summer filled with music and crowds last Friday night. The Bluegrass Museum and Hall of Fame packed its outdoor venue with a crowd on Thursday. Outdoor patios are bustling. Hotel occupancy is going up, and Visit Owensboro is busy booking tournaments and events. The energy in the air is palpable.

And Smiles. Smiles that make our hearts filled. Smiles that remind us of the connection we have with one another; of the joy we feel by being around others.

I have been struggling a bit lately over where to put the past 14 months. And I am still not there yet. So I have decided that for now, it is best to compartmentalize it and move on. I remember being utterly frustrated last year with phrases like “unprecedented times” and “new normal.” On a most basic level, I have always felt the more you wallow in something, the more power you give it. I know this is probably not what most therapists or ministers would advise. But it is all I know to do right now. There is too much to get done.

For now, we will begin planning and implementing. Our first in-person Rooster Booster on July 1; Leadership Owensboro’s last class day and graduation, and then onboarding a new class; new programs for local college students; membership drives, golf tournaments, shop local campaigns for the summer; and scores of ribbon cuttings that we had been putting on hold to comply with regulations.

Each day, I am able to go to an office with a staff smiling mask-free and ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead for our members. A team that never gave up and kept on going. I am deeply grateful to serve our Chamber and community with these amazing people.

Through all of the smiles and optimism, we continue to remember those who lost the most since March 2020. And as we have been reminded over and over again, we never truly know what struggles others have. As we move forward, we do it for one another and for those who we lost. Resiliency is our inheritance as Americans and as children of God. It is our time to be resilient and to pass it on to the next generation.