You Are Essential

May 2020 | by stephanie toews

As I sit in my office today, we are well over a month into our new normal. It’s hard to believe that it has been several weeks since life as we knew it took an incredible turn. If you had told me the events that would ensue over the past month, I never would have believed it. Entire cities shut down, churches, gyms, parks, shops, restaurants…

On any given day, I’m flooded with a wide range of emotions. At times, I begin a new day with a strong determination to be positive and productive, other days, I wake up wishing I could pull the covers back over my head and sleep the day away. But, I get up, say loads of prayers, put a smile on my face, and remember that two sets of eyes are looking to me to show them that there’s joy to be found even in the hardest of times.

Some of the ways that I’ve experienced joy throughout this Great Pause have been most unexpected and beautiful. A text from a friend at just the right moment, a doorstep surprise (not the kind delivered by Amazon!), a smile and hello from a stranger as desperate for connection as I am, windows decorated with hearts and hope-filled messages. Undistracted family dinners around the table filled with laughter and conversation, handwritten cards and letters in the mail, prayers more passionate than ever before, and reflections on all of the things that can't be shaken by sickness or death.  

As our country navigates this pandemic, there’s been a lot of talk about essential business. I understand that a distinction must be made, but I believe every job is essential, every business is essential because it provides for the families that call this community home, and every person is essential! There’s no one unaffected by this pandemic. This time has allowed me to renew my focus on what is essential to me. The things that no pandemic can take away: my relationship with the Lord, my family, friends, and neighbors; people. Our hearts are so desperately created for community.

This special edition digital issue was borne from an extreme love for our community and the organizations and businesses that make up the fabric of why Simply Local exists. It is our hope that through these virtual pages, you will be inspired, filled with hope and encouragement, and flooded with a spirit of togetherness while we are apart. While the days and weeks ahead are uncertain, we are a strong community that's for sure, and we will come out of this and thrive. It will take some rebuilding, and the road may not be paved with gold, but we are Montanans, and we are overcomers!  

Originally printed in the May 2020 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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