We’ve all heard it said, “talk is cheap”, and we know what it feels like to be there – those empty wishes like “I hope it goes well” or “You know I/we love you”. Let me finish that statement above with a thought of my own from a few years back. I was working with a theater friend and the statement his work made to me was profound – the thought occurred to me as I breathed out a statement “talk is cheap, art means more.” It’s true to me even more as I think about this now. It’s easy to say “I love you” and much more challenging to show someone that we love them.
You’ve probably heard that popular quote, “preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.” Adding to the complication of loving others is the element of being misunderstood – oh yes, it’s always there and we’ve probably all experienced that. How painful it is to be misunderstood – especially when you think you are loving people by what you’re doing. Oh human relations – couldn’t that discussion go on forever? Will we ever really master it? I don’t think so, and maybe that’s the beauty of being human.
Well I thought of this quote tonight as I reflect on my work with this cooperative. I know what it’s like to be loved and supported and Im grateful for that. At the end of the day, what I’d like to say is “I love you McLeod County”. You are my home and I love you or I wouldn’t be doing this job of putting together a food cooperative and throwing my best effort in for free. I am certainly not perfect and definitely been misunderstood before, like everyone, but I guess I’d like to spell it out: I truly do love my hometown and that’s my motivation for stepping up to this challenge. Good, bad or otherwise, praised or not, right or wrong, I truly love our county and our people and I guess it’s my turn to show it (and maybe necessary to use words). A good friend from Glencoe once shared with me, “We don’t tell people we love them, we show them we love them.” So simple. So true.
I’m not alone in my love for this community. I know that and I know many people who have asked, “how can I help?” and “how can I get involved to support this cooperative?” We have an amazing community and it’s important that we all take responsibility for the development of a natural food cooperative. This is a joint effort and everyone needs to contribute to get a strong foundation established and for the cooperative to grow. A lot of people have already contributed generously – some have given time, assets, talents, products and some energy and effort to get us going. A cooperative fundamentally requires the sacrifice of all community members to get started and that is why we buy shares, work hard and ultimately share in the benefits. Without the personal sacrifice part, a cooperative simply does not exist but with it we can create an astonishing asset to our community.
I’m grateful to all the men and women who have gone before us and done something like this themselves. I know some of you and some I’ll never know but I’d like to say I’m grateful. We all make a difference as we pull together to do good for our community – seen or unseen, heard or unheard, your work and effort make our home a better place to live.
An unnamed good, good friend recently reminded me – “put on love; it usually works.” It’s laughable how simple that sounds but what a powerful truth to live by.
Alycia R. Gruenhagen