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  • Edición impresa de Abril 7, 2009.

In the midst of so many troubles there are always points of light.  

Life is a very strong force, just as spring brings back the green, the leaves and flowers, so people are also looking for ways to turn their lives around and begin anew.

Since the economy is not showing any signs of prompt recuperation small groups of individuals are banding together looking for solutions. People are not in a waiting mode expecting some sort of plan to come and rescue them; the most entrepreneurial ones are starting to move to accomplish very specific things that may change their situation.

An example of this is the man who a year ago had a booming decorating business and under the current conditions decided to create bags made with the same fabrics that he had on hand.  Best of all his mind was made up not to lose his workers and now most of them are back, working in a completely different field created by need and solidarity.

Other people are creating organizations that may help the unemployed. 

Such is the case of ‘Elkhart Works Together’, which expects to be a link between those who can work and people who may be in need of services.

People are looking for ways to start community gardens, while not everyone can plant, some can offer space, seeds, expertise and most of all willingness to participate.

People are bartering, engaging in different kinds of relationships and are deciding to live their lives in ways that are less individualistic and more community oriented.

This is a learning opportunity for everyone.  It not only makes us re-think about the way we spend but it also allows us to see what each of us can offer and how much we need one another.

People are becoming more resourceful and are seeing the potential in things that had always surrounded them and were not really seen before.  

Both men and women are finding that cooking and eating together as a family is not only cheaper but also fun. After cutting cable costs and other types of entertainment, they are enjoying more exercise, walking, biking, etc that can also be done with others.

This can turn into an opportunity to reclaim spaces such as bike trails, parks, etc for fun and also reclaim the backyards and even front spaces to plant and share.

When the economic decline started, I began to see many Latino families cooking special dishes at home and selling them to others in town. What we see now is not only that, but also the entire town moving to look for new ways to change around the situation by finding and using their talents, knowing that since many are sharing the same luck, they are not alone and can row together.

For those who have lost their jobs, their homes, this may sound very simplistic but it is a case of the glass of water.  We can choose to see it half empty, or we can see that is half full and make the best use of it.

Let’s count our friends, acquaintances and opportunities and move forward.  When a ship is sinking, any extra weight is a burden and not an asset.  The same is true here. We cannot stay forever thinking about what we had instead of creating something new.

Like the new life of spring, let’s hope for the best!





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