Fall is a favorite season for our family. We love New England with the changing of the weather, the changing of leaves, the changing of activities, the preparations for winter. A pause in the crisp air is the call of winter upon us, reminding us to be ready. I am reminded that to be consistent we must change for changing allows character, faith, and community to flourish.
But what changes then are necessary? What do we want to continue and what do we want to cease? As the days grow shorter, I am mindful of the shortest day and longest night of the year coming in December. I am mindful that we will pause and remember those who have died outside the quality of life of our community. We will mourn them, but does the crisp air of change cause us to pause? How might we change and celebrate lives saved?
This is a terrible challenge for many human service providers. Should we wrap love and compassion around those living outside so they know they are loved, even if it increases the likelihood they stay outside? Should we celebrate meals served and shelter stays or should we measure how many were in a home for Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Of this, I am confident, throughout Middle Tennessee wonderful organizations are preparing for those living outside to come inside for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. This is an act of our open hearts of compassion. But again, should we celebrate meals served and shelter stays or should we measure how many were in a home for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Maybe we should celebrate lives changed? Or the strength of compassion created by strangers welcoming in their neighbors not only for a meal but also into a community? I believe that Community is the greatest capital.
One reason I love Tennessee is that I see the same strength of community that I grew up in New England. A community where zucchini you share with a friend one day, become Tom’s fresh muffins that they share with you the next. A community where the person with the truck drives the person who is physically able to pick up firewood and delivers it to the family struggling with loss. Each act allows each other to be safe and secure in their home during a long cold dark winter.
Let us live, love, share and prepare until all of the widows are safe and secure in their own home. Let us prepare for the shortest day and longest night fighting so that the fewest people have to be outside experiencing it.
Let us be prepared together for the call of winter.
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Major Ethan Frizzell serves as the Area Commander of The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has been serving in Middle TN since 1890. A graduate of Harvard Kennedy School, his focus is the syzygy of the community culture, the systems of service, and the lived experience of our neighbors. He uses creative abrasion to rub people just the wrong way so that an offense may cause interaction and then together we can create behaviorally designed solutions to nudge progress. Simply, negotiating the future for progress that he defines as Quality of Life in Jesus!