Happy New Year! We can finally say goodbye to a year filled with so many challenges and losses; and say hello to a year filled with hope and optimism. I remember thinking on Valentine’s Day how loving my siblings and their children are to me, and that Spring would soon surround us all with the beauty of nature that God sends to us each year. That feeling of new growth and beauty quickly diminished as the world came face to face with a challenge bigger than many had ever faced before. However, with faith in hand and love in our hearts, we found our own way of staring the challenge down.
Resident artists, eager to show their talents, went from an art opening with wine and cheese to an art program brought to everyone on our live in-house television station. Truly giving more the opportunity to learn about the works they had created as they listened to resident artist being interviewed and describing their inner passion for creating each piece, which then was hung for all to stop by and see every six weeks.
Resident sewers began making masks almost immediately. Giving some away and selling others in the Blossom Shop. Sharing their creativity and concern for a healthy community for us all. Our house Chaplin, Don Johnson, began using our Shortel telephone system to give a morning devotional to all employees. His words of encouragement and prayer, then and now, continue to help staff push through when the odds sometimes feel heavily stacked against them.
Residents volunteered to deliver mail and packages to those self-isolating; to call on local religious leaders to serve as guest speakers for Vespers, now attended by so many more again utilizing our in-house television station; and others secured local artist to perform on stage in the performing arts center, to a mostly virtual audience. These acts of kindness resulted in Kirby Pines once again being voted the Best Retirement Community by the readers of the Commercial Appeal. Making this our 14th consecutive year to receive this honor.
This holiday season has been the perfect time to pause and remember the best that Kirby has to offer, and to remember those in our hearts, but no longer among us. As I begin my 19th year of service to you and the employees of Kirby Pines, I wish everyone a better and Happy New Year. Remember, Spring and its beauty is just around the corner.