Ordinary people, extraordinary New Year

Published 4:13 pm Monday, December 26, 2022

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As a new Year lies before us, I think we can all look back at the past year and review so many things new to our lives.   As every year wans, we look forward to the new one with hope, faith and well wishes that it will be one of prosperity, peace and joy.  And just like the year that is passing, we realize we can’t control the future in many ways, but we can control the way we handle some of the issues that will come our way.

Often, we can see the problems, the pain, the hurt, the mistrust and the anxiety in our communities, our country and in the world, but there is another side to all this.  We can become ‘agents of change’ to seek solutions to the problems.

Over the past year, I have met so many wonderful people who want to be ‘agents of change’ to help provide solutions to problems.   They are in our communities every day doing things to make our city and county a wonderful place to live and are a beacon of hope to all.  These people aren’t leaders, politicians, preachers or public personalities.  They are ordinary citizens who roll up their sleeves and do whatever needs to be done.  And the one thing I admire about all of them is the heart they have to care about and serve people.

I publicly wanted to thank a special group of Beaufort County residents who wanted to do something special this year and formed the Greater Beaufort County Cultural Committee.  These were ordinary people who wanted to celebrate all Beaufort County residents, and planned special events like the Historic Beaufort County Juneteenth 2022 event to add to the City of Washington’s Juneteenth events. They also planned the Hispanic Latino Heritage Month Outreach for October and the Native American Heritage Outreach for November.

These events gained statewide attention for Washington. These ordinary citizens did extraordinary things.  They all exemplified the tenets of the beautiful prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.  I truly love this prayer and I share it below.  This prayer is part of the compass I guide my life by.

This new year with all of the hopes we have to make it a good one, let’s be agents of change too.  We can all do our part, big or small, it can matter to all.  2023, let’s make this the year of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and be ‘agents of change.’   A very Happy and blessed New Year to you and your family.

The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Leesa Jones is a Washington native and the co-founder and co-executive director of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.