Circle the wagons

Circle the wagons

When my sister Kelly became sick in the late summer, my friend Jim told me, “When things get bad, Jacksonville will circle the wagons.” At the time, I didn’t really know what that meant.

She died in the late fall of this year and straightaway it became crystal clear. The idiom is defined by Merriam-Webster as usually being used figuratively, “to gather a group of people together in order to protect them from being attacked.”

People began to unite to “defend” our family … protect her boys … in various ways. It’s something worth researching. It’s a powerful phrase. The outpouring of love, prayers, food, gifts and monetary donations toward her memorial … well, it was overwhelming. The kindness and authentic love shown toward our family is still something of which we are in awe; it keeps our heads above water during our daily struggles.

Having recorded over 400 deaths in Morgan County at the time of this writing, 2021 has been a year of great loss for many in our community. We are and will always be sorry for your losses.

This year has been filled with sadness and heartache. This year has continued with loss of jobs and closing of businesses, all during headlines in the news of continued political discord that divides the United States of America.

There are not enough workers to staff companies. Hospitals, factories, fast food restaurants and more … they are all showing the damage from trying to run without the appropriate number of staff members.

Still, we continue to be thankful for the doctors and nurses, the Morgan County Office of Emergency Management, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs … all of the people that are working so hard to keep our communities safe. We applaud the teachers who are working diligently to educate our masked children. There are so many people who are doing their part to keep the community running.

Are you doing your part? Are you being kind? Are you treating people with respect? Are you responding in grace to those around you with different opinions? If not, resolve in 2022 to try to do better. Be better. Our great nation needs to heal. This will only happen when we as a community heal and come together to end the divide amongst us all. Circle the wagons.

Pray for those who are serving the community and also our country. If you don’t pray, send a good wish in the direction of those who might need it. We are all dealing with something.

Merry Christmas to everyone. I will again pray that 2022 is a better year for all. As for my family (and many of yours), we will pray for the healing that comes with a great loss. WE will pray for peace.

May Christmas bring joy to your home. Be kind and patient with those around you and share great love. Life is short, make each day matter. Remember that there is magic and there are miracles – 2021 has blessed us with those as well.

A special thank you to our advertisers for staying with us during these difficult times. You keep us in business, and we appreciate you all.

– Marcy Patterson

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