There is no denying that this past year has been — if I may be blunt — difficult.

Families could not be together, people feared becoming sick, and businesses were forced to shut down. Many became ill or even died. Substance abused soared and children — many who needed the safety of the school environment — were required to learn from home.

Yet, we’ve learned a great deal during this time sequestered from our “normal lives.” People have embraced new hobbies, improved their cooking skills, and completed home project that had been on back burner. Each one of us has grown in visible and not so easy to identify ways. In the process, we’ve discovered quite a bit about ourselves. Perhaps we’ve identified a few triggers as well as uncovered some unknown joys. Despite so much sadness, we cannot deny the silver linings we experienced.

However, I believe that there is still more for us to learn. And now that things are starting to change — more sunlight each day, winter transitioning to spring, and our world reopening — let’s rejoice in all we’ve endured, celebrate our resilience, and appreciate the many ways we have grown.

In many a piece of music, it’s the pause or the rest that gives the piece its beauty and its shape.

Peace and Love, Jim

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