We have tallied our many blessings.
We have offered our prayers of gratitude.
We have looked up and around our beloved community.
Of blessings, we had more to tally than we have space to write.
But the list includes the first light on the Rim wreathed in clouds, the scattered family drawn together for a day, the last tremble of fall, the deep promise of spring, the sound of the East Verde in the dark, the trout holes of Tonto Creek, the Bashas’ cashier who greets us by name, the coffee shop gal who pours the cup when we hit the door, the face of the scruffy mutt with the pointy ears in the window as we drive up, the Jeep still running with 140,000 miles on it, the burgers in the Buffalo, the retirees who keep taking classes, the reporters who work late, the Junction 87 jam sessions, the home brew of THAT Brewery, the sports editor who can’t bear to retire, the view from the Rim at sunset, the mist that rises from Green Valley lake at dawn.
Of prayers, we have more gratitude than breath.
But the prayer must include thanks for those souls crusading for the food bank, the dogged volunteers who keep the Time Out Shelter working, the school coaches who arrive in the dark and stay after the sunset, the band director, the drama teacher, the folks who pick up pickup loads of trash, the readers who have kept the Roundup alive all through the recession, the people sitting beside the suicide hotline phone, the teachers putting in the long hours with no hope of a raise — oh yes, and the driver of the trout stocking truck.
And when our thoughts turn to the beloved community, we must sigh and gird ourselves for another year of struggle. We must resolve to fill the shelves of the food bank, to scrounge up the Credit for Kids donations for the schools, to support the local businesses on whom all our public services depend, to keep faith with the visionaries still struggling to build a university here, to answer the call of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Mogollon Health Alliance, the Rim Country Educational Alliance, Kaitie’s Closet, Payson Helping Payson, the Supply Line, the Senior Center, the Time Out Shelter — and all those other great-hearted, high-minded groups that constitute the beloved community.
So many blessings.
So many answered prayers.
So beloved a community.
Our cup runneth over.
God bless you, Rim Country.