We all need encouragement from time to time. The movie Selma highlights Dr. King‘s reliance on a small circle of friends for support. In one scene he calls his friend Mahalia Jackson to sing and comfort him in the middle of the night. We all become weary.
Over the years of my life (and especially the last two), people who care deeply for our region have reminded me to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I find solace in these words.
Giving up is easy when you feel as though, no matter how just your cause, there are more people against you than with you.
Giving up is easy when you feel like the momentum to maintain mediocrity is overwhelming and it’s impossible to go against the tide.
Giving up is easy when you feel as though others don’t appreciate what you have done in the past to help make life easier.
Giving up is easy when you feel your quest is not winnable, that people are too indifferent to make change.
But giving up cannot be part of our region’s journey. We have to rally our small circle of support, even when we’re weary.
Let me encourage you with the strengths I see in our region. Of course there are the commonly cited jewels in our crown: the diversity of our neighborhoods; the caliber of our parks, zoo and museum districts; the supremacy of the St. Louis Cardinals; the charitable nature of our citizens; and the foundation of faith and ethics that underpin it all.
But let’s not forget our greatest asset – our people.
I’m so encouraged by the hardworking people in our region who have an incredible will to improve themselves and their families. I celebrate the people who show up day in and day out with an unrelenting work ethic despite the many challenges they face. These everyday heroes understand what’s at stake for their families if they don’t give it their all.
Our region also possesses incredible intellectual capital. Pound for pound, we have some of the best thinkers in the world – from our schools, to our innovative companies, and conscientious corporate and civic leaders. These brilliant minds understand what’s at stake if we don’t remain focused on the key to regional competitiveness – building educational opportunities and providing access to quality jobs.
Let’s not become weary in doing good. Let’s get the best doers and thinkers together to map out an agenda that leverages people, programs, and policies to change the trajectory of a generation and our region. We can do this, if we don’t give up.