Are you a “giver” or a “getter”? Being a “getter” is not all it’s cracked up to be! Just look around you. It’s the day after Christmas and, once again, we didn’t all get everything we wanted. The evidence is clear! There are not new cars in every driveway. Boats that could be out fishing still sit on the boat dealer’s lot. Not every home has the latest, wall sized, ultra high definition home theater television. There are still plenty of expensive diamonds at the jewelry store, and of the ones that were gifted, there soon will be more at the pawn shop too! Being a “getter” can be disappointing. On the other hand, being a giver never disappoints!

Nope, we didn’t all get what we wanted, but Christmas was wonderful nonetheless because of what was given. I am so inspired by the givers. Why, if they had their way there would be joy to the world, peace on earth, harmony and redemption too! The only reason the givers don’t totally have their way is that they are not in charge…they can’t make us accept the gifts of true value that are offered. But that doesn’t slow the givers down much, they just keep on giving. God bless ‘em!

So now here we are at the juncture between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one. A New Year! That has a nice sound to it. I can envision it in my mind’s eye, a nice, shiny new year, informed by the old year’s experiences, successes and failures but free to go its own way, free to recognize its highest potential. All it takes is some resolve and some common sense.

Unfortunately, resolve and common sense often do not go hand in hand. Often we fail. But still we try. Despite last year’s many failed and broken resolutions, we make new ones! Why? Because we are emboldened by hope. Hope! Often it’s the only thing that keeps us going. The beautiful thing about being a human being is that we have the ability to reinvent ourselves, endlessly! Don’t let failure make you afraid! Resolve! But don’t forget the common sense!

Resolution! It is a word that gets a lot of use this time of year. As we look back on the past year and forward to the New Year, we sometimes wish to make changes in our course, and these changes often require some reflection and resolve. Generally speaking, I’m long on reflection and short on resolve. But I have high hopes for you and me this coming year, and I hope that one of your resolutions is to consider contributing to this column. Be a giver and give me some news!

The Festival of Lights at Stephen Foster Park is over now. Thousands of people went into the park to see millions of lights! Thanks to the park staff and volunteers who did all the work. Impressive work by a bunch of givers!

On a smaller scale, some citizens of White Springs did an impressive job on decorating their houses and businesses with the Christmas spirit too. I think Christmas lights are a reflection of a bigger theme in life, one that goes on all year long. You see, outside Christmas decorations are seldom seen by the people that put them up. They spend much more time working (yes, it is work!) to put them up and then take them down than they will ever spend looking at them. And then there is the money spent to consider, because Christmas decorations can be expensive. And yet, year after year people take the time, money and effort that it takes to put up these decorations.

Some folks might wonder, "Why do they do it?" The answer is simple. They are crazy! The best kind of crazy is Christmas Crazy! Givers are crazy too, and the lights and decorations are a gift. This is the season for giving and these lights are a gift from the citizens of White Springs to their children, families, neighbors and friends and foes alike. For some there might be a little ego involved as to how grand the display is, or how it competes with the neighbor’s, but mainly it is an observance of the season that is a gift to the community.

I hope that this “crazy” is contagious and that it is not limited to just the holidays. No, I don’t mean that I hope you leave your lights up all year long, though I do know that has happened more than once. I just think that it would be nice if all the homes and businesses in White Springs looked like the owners and occupants cared about their neighbors and kept their places nice to look at all throughout the year. It is a gift to the community that gives all year long.

Many thanks to all the folks who do the hard work to make good things happen in White Springs. You may be one of them and if you’re not, in the future, you could be. Make it your New Year’s resolution to get involved in a positive way. White Springs needs you. Be a giver!

The cold weather has come and the volunteer efforts of the White Springs Hope Program Fuel Bank are much appreciated. All during the year these men and women cut and stockpile firewood for needy members of our community. Their work goes largely unnoticed by most of us, but now that really cold weather is here, their work is much appreciated by those that need the firewood to stay warm. I say to these fine volunteers, “Good work and God bless!” They literally bring warmth to the lives of those that need it. Givers!

Flo Redic is a giver, always happy to lend a helping hand. He makes White Springs a better place! I am proud to call him my friend and I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a happy birthday. Happy Birthday Flozell!

Prayers and gentle thoughts go out to the family of the late Reverend Fred Scippio Sr. He was an extraordinary servant of the Lord that I had the pleasure of knowing these last few years. Rev. Scippio has been a gentle and loving, yet forceful presence in the lives many people in White Springs. I witnessed the kindness he bestowed upon us over the years, not only at his church but also at community gatherings such as Veterans Day, May Day, Easter Sunrise Service, Town Council Meetings and, yes, Funerals. But my favorite encounters with Reverend Scippio were when we were on our bicycles. He used to ride out to the south end of town, park his bike, and just watch people coming and going. I would sometimes stop and talk with him. He had a voice that was so deeply resonant that when he spoke it sounded like a direct heavenly connection. I always felt uplifted after my bicycle talks with Reverend Scippio, and I appreciated his spiritual watchfulness over the people of the town he loved, White Springs. Rest in peace Reverend Scippio, and thanks for being a giver!

Well, once again, thanks for all the gifts! I am thankful that we can depend on each other, and I hope that we can continue to feel proud of who we are and where we’re headed, and that we all appreciate how White Springs and its surrounding region is a very special place, to be honored and protected. As always, I look forward to seeing you out and about, giving, finding opportunities and enjoying your community and your life in White Springs.

Walter McKenzie


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