Make September a great month of renewal

Jackie Lovejoy
From the President’s Desk
Jackie Lovejoy
President, Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce

Quote of the month that has inspired me:
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
—Abraham Lincoln

We’ve lost some iconic people in the past month, some nationally famous, many heroes, and those near and dear to our hearts. Let’s think about September, a time when the shedding of leaves is symbolic of future growth, and the value of education today as we charge forward into another school year.

I’ve always heard this quote and was surprised to find it’s from Abraham Lincoln, someone who loved to learn, loved to read and paused to reflect and think forward. While he lived in his times, Lincoln embodied someone who could see his legacy into the future.

A time to reflect gives us perspective and sometimes insights; it calms the mind and charges our batteries for the next phase and the next challenge. 

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m an easy crier. A good Hallmark commercial, photos of soldiers coming home, airport hellos and good byes I see from strangers, and I’m a softie. Good news, a new house, a new baby, an old pet passing, it all makes me weep. I try to hide this, I’ve always been embarrassed by this, I’ve never been “strong.”

My husband, Joe, can leave the living room, come back in five minutes, and panic as I’m trying to hide my crying in front of the television. “Oh, no. What’s happened?” he’s exclaimed many, many times. I then have to relay that MTV had a video playing and the rapper fell in love with his boss’ girlfriend, then a firefight ensued and they both lay dying together in the hospital ER, during the three-minute-and-50-second video.

To which my stoic and dry husband replies, “Oh. That happened to my neighbor.” He always makes me laugh at myself!

We unfortunately hear of our icons that we grew up with passing, either from old age, or untimely circumstances. We suddenly see more of our friends and family at more funerals than weddings, and we pause and take stock.

I have a dear friend Chris to whom I was lamenting this phase of our life, the transitions thrust upon us and my lack of strength. Chris said one of the most comforting things to me, “Death IS sad. That you have the heart to console and mourn with others is a gift to them.”

That gave me great pause. I would prefer to be the strong one, the one to get up and fix things. We have to remember to pause, and to honor those in a tough predicament or in death is valuable.

We have one crack at this grand thing called life. We dive in and get dirty and change our world one day at a time. It may be a small change, or a lasting legacy, they all make a difference each day.

We all have something to contribute. This moment coupled with September and back-to-school-time wafting on the breeze, I am renewed.

If you haven’t seen the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” I highly recommend it to you. As he lives his life, in struggle sometimes, he fails to see the overall impact he has made. We all have this impact; sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not.

For this fall, as you charge forward into new adventures, assess where you are in the world. Be ready to learn, pause and reflect, and make September a great month of renewal!