by Melanie VanderPol-Bailey, MSW, CSW-PIP
Last week my colleague and mentor Dr. Douglas Anderson shared the following thoughts about entering 2023, “I encourage you to allow for the messiness of life, recognize the mystery of human existence alongside all that we discover through the sciences, and tolerate or even applaud a bit more mediocrity in your life and in the lives around you.”
The first week of January definitely proved to be messy, and the enormous snowfall amounts without a strong South Dakota wind were a bit of a mystery. Like it or not, we all have had to tolerate what is, and for each of us this storm provided a variety of differing experiences.
Our experiences can unite us. In our communities and rural areas, it is common to see the beautiful acts of service and help in action after a large snowfall. We see neighbors helping neighbors, those with tractors clearing county roads and helping where they are needed. We see the warm and thankful faces of our elders through their picture windows, waving and saying thank you to the children with shovels in hand, clearing their steps. In these moments, our connections and value of the other is clearly measured in piles of snow. It can be a wonderful moment when we stop and soak in both the beauty of the sun glistening on the untouched snow, as well as the snow piles that show us that we are here for each other.
Some folks have had to tolerate a lot more than others, the physical and financial burdens have taken precedence over any beauty that may also be present. In these moments, it can be helpful to lean on relationships and the support you have around you. We often want to hide the messy parts of our lives. We all experience both the mystery and the mess and we are not alone. We push through, but the pushing is easier when we have help and support.
My hope for 2023 is that we continue to extend our service to each other as we go forward, looking for commonality versus difference. As you drive through your communities, may each snow pile remind you that we are here for each other.
Our agencies are here to assist you. River Counseling Services in Platte, Sioux Falls Psychological Services, and Stronghold Counseling Services in Sioux Falls and in Yankton - meet you where you are, offering hope. That is our mission. You may schedule an appointment at the Platte office at 605-337-3444 or meet with one of our Sioux Falls or Yankton based therapists from your computer, smartphone, or in person at any of our clinics. To schedule an appointment, please call 605-334-2696.