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It’s always darkest before the dawn. That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

You’ve heard inspirational quotes like these before and you’ll no doubt hear them again. Trite, maybe. But also true. I think that’s why we human beings need to hear them again and again, because the truth always resonates.

A few months back, when I wrote about how I was struggling, inspirational quotes are what I clung to, as well as music like This is Me by Keala Settle, or Home by Phil Phillips. Those sayings and songs helped this eternal optimist to remember that underneath it all, life, even when it sucks, is good. Really, really good. And while optimism is the belief that things will be all right, hope makes no such assumption. Hope is a conviction that we can act to make things better.

So while those inspirational quotes and songs helped me to retain my optimism, what helped me to have hope was all of you. Many of you acted, reaching out to me, not only to share your own non-trite words of wisdom, but to let me know that you were struggling, too. It’s dark and scary place right now, and so many of you are reeling under the weight of it. You’ve helped me to see that when we share our mutual angst we can work to overcome it, to lift each other up and get back on our own two feet, so we can try, together, to make things better.

Yeah, it might be Crazytown right now, but that offers us an incredible opportunity. As author and sociologist Martha Beck says, “The creation of anything new begins with the disruption of the existing order. Most of us have had our lives seriously disrupted over the past months and years. We’re crossing a huge new threshold together. That means we have unprecedented freedom to remake everything.” So, what will we do with our “unprecedented freedom?’ What is it we want to “remake?” I’m not exactly certain, but the very idea of wiping the slate clean, of starting anew to build a world filled with love and hope and joy fills me with, well, love and hope and joy. Time to get busy, right?

But before we get started, I wanted to let you know how grateful I am. Not only for lifting me up when I needed it, but for taking action, for showing up, for reading my work, for letting this fledgling and flawed writer practice on you. Your comments and feedback, or simply the knowledge that someone other than my beloved dog Piper is actually reading my work, fills me with gratitude. You read me, you hear me, you see me. A million times thank you for that.

I am so grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez at unsplash. com.


  1. I’m so proud of your work, you actually sitting down and committing your well thought out notions to “paper”, and being your true righteous compassionate self. Many think of it, but you walk the walk. I’m thankful for growing up with you and having your brain-juice spill over into my life in every aspect, so when I’m in a conundrum I can say to myself “what would J do?” I might do the opposite since I don’t want to get arrested but you are in my collective brain trust never the less. Keep your Second Line flowing dear one!!

    • Well, what the hell do I say to that?! So, I’ll wipe my eyes and say thank you–to you, and to the universe for sending you my way. Lucky me!

  2. Hang in there Jill. Things are better, much more calm over the past 10 months. Keep the faith

    • It’s people like you that help me keep the faith, Rich! Thanks so much, and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Jill. Gratitude has been a powerful force in my life. Thank you for eloquently articulating why……gratitude, love and compassion. Now that’s a trifecta worth betting on!

    • I’ll take that bet anytime! Gratitude (and you) have been powerful forces in my life as well. Thanks, Dee!

  4. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.”

    • So I think what you’re saying is, all you need is love, love. Love is all you need. And I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Jill!

  6. Thank you for your writings, Jill. This has been a challenging month. Lots is changing in my life and I am trying hard to grieve, but look at the positive. World events make it difficult to feel positive, but I believe good will win. Happy Thanksgiving and may you enjoy all that life offers.

    • Oh Margie, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a difficult time and I’m sorry for your loss. Change can be so hard, some changes more than others. I know change can make us more flexible and resilient, but turning ourselves into pretzels can really hurt, even if we come out stronger on the other side. Wishing you more gentleness, calm and joy in the weeks and months to come.

  7. Thank you for believing and being a source of hope and optimism. Even in your “darkest” hour, you illuminate a path forward by being a friend, finding a touch of humor and seeking good in people. YOU are a part of my gratitude list this Thanksgiving.

    • Awww…back at you my friend! Thank you for your kind words and ongoing friendship!

  8. Our struggles and attempts- to make our community and state a little bit better – give me hope. Thank you for sharing yourself

    • Just trying to follow your lead, as well as that of so many PerSisters! Thanks Lisa.

  9. In my favorite-ever TV show, The West Wing, they ask, “What’s Next?” Can’t wait to hear your answer, Jill!

    • And I can’t wait to figure it out myself! How about you, Barb?

      Thanks for stopping by.


  10. THANK YOU. You are such a great writer with the ability to put into words what so many of us are feeling. I find that a daily (or almost daily) gratitude practice helps me keep up my energy to stay engaged and reduces my level of frustrations and emotional lows.

    • Thank you for such kind words and great advice Kathy. I really appreciate you!

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