Some days you just breath in…Some days you’re living!

Some days you just breath in…Some days you’re living!

“You don’t know how much courage it took for me to come here today.” I overheard this from an elderly lady who had asked her daughter to bring her to McPherson to shop at several McPherson stores for her birthday. I’m sure part of the appeal was spending time with her daughter, but she chose McPherson! That moment has been on my mind ever since. Not only did this sweet lady admit that she would have to quarantine for two weeks when she returned from her outing, she specifically said she had wanted to visit “that chimney place” ~The Stone Chimney. Apparently, The Stone Chimney had made quite an impression on her because it had been many years since she had been able to shop there. She also mentioned that she wanted to visit The Cook’s Nook and a few other McPherson stores while she was in town.

So many positive vibes have stuck with me since that day. I keep thinking, what a wonderful reminder of the incredible businesses and shopping experiences we have in McPherson. It gave me a new perspective on the courage that it takes for some to put on a mask and shop in-person again, and was a terrific example of living!

When the pandemic began, I sometimes felt like I needed to remind myself to just keep breathing. I suppose that was better than holding my breath, waiting for the world to magically transform back to normal. But just breathing isn’t enough. In the midst of all the uncertainty, I never stopped noticing all of the good in the world, appreciating all of the blessings that surround us and looking for ways to help, but sometime I felt like I was “on hold” waiting to make plans for someday. I think the shopping experience was the perfect wakeup call that it is someday, and time to get out and start living life to the fullest. It is ok to be cautious and I recommend following safety guidelines, but you can do all of that and still enjoy getting out to support our local businesses and help our community thrive.

The challenges we continue to face have given us opportunities to help our neighbors, businesses, teachers, law enforcement officers, and our community in ways that will always be remembered. We have proven that we are resilient, that we are innovative and that we care. Sometimes simple gestures, sometimes rather extensive programs have been implemented by a community filled with amazing people, coming together to build each other up. These kind gestures are what I call living. Living a life of significance to help others, making our community stronger.

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we leave.” -Nelson Mandela

~ Debbie Hawkinson, Executive Director, McPherson Chamber of Commerce