For city’s welfare, we must do more than bloom

For city's welfare, we must do more than bloom

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my mother was, “Bloom where you are planted.” Mom enjoyed her role as a pastor’s wife and found ways to join and actively participate in every community where we lived. “We need to plug in, kids,” I can hear her saying after each one of our six moves in 25 years. “It’s important to find a way to plug in and be a part of things.”

Yet, in anticipation of Father’s Day, it is my father’s words of wisdom that I want to celebrate. Dad, too, believed we should bloom where we are planted. But, he also believed we should “plant where we are blooming.”

“If you live, love, and work in a place,” he once wrote, “the least you can do is contribute to the infrastructure of the community, advocate for better education, better productivity, better health care, better relations between management and labor – and on the list goes. It’s simply a matter of caring enough to invest time and talent in the betterment of community.”

As a minister, of course he had an appropriate text.

But seek the welfare of the city … for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

Once we get our minds set on “seeking the welfare of the city” and let that principle rule our thinking and our living, then we can work together to build community, he believed.

How happy he would be for Huntington’s first-place finish in the America’s Best Communities Competition! What a testament to walking the talk of that principle.

The whole business of “seeking welfare of city” is a matter of investment. When we plant where we are blooming, we take the best of what we have to offer – our talents, time, resources, and knowledge – and give back so that others can be nurtured from our experiences and begin to grow and flourish, too.

But beyond the confines of our cities, the principles of blooming and growing and planting as investing can reach into our personal lives, too.

Despite our best plans, life can go sideways. Through circumstances outside our control, we find ourselves living a life we did not plan.

Yet, we still have a choice.

Will we bloom where we are planted? Will we accept our situation, plug in and get the resources we need to flourish?

Then, will we plant where we are blooming? Will we find a way to use what we’ve learned and give back to the community that has nurtured and supported us?

Both take effort and commitment. Nothing blooms without appropriate nutrients and careful tending. Planting requires that as well, along with a thoughtful plan.

“What’s planned is possible,” Dad also taught me. Those are wise words to live by and grow by. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our beloved Huntington and the carefully crafted plans for her growth and revitalization. Let the nurturing begin.

This column was written by Rebecca Faye Smith Galli, daughter of the late Dr. R.F. Smith Jr., a longtime columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Becky is a columnist and author of “Rethinking Possible: A Memoir of Resilience.”

First published 6/11/17