Updated: Jan 18
Seven years can feel like a long time. The average length of marriages in the United States is about seven years - and some married folks may believe that even that was too long.
And yet seven years is really no time at all. It's not even a blip in the history of our country, our planet or our universe.
But humans tend to struggle with abstractions like eternity, with a focus that is firmly rooted in the seven to nine decades of our lives on earth. With such a limited amount of time, I admit to often feeling haunted by a sensation best expressed in the musical Hamilton…
"When my time is done, have I done enough."
Given that, 7 years can pass in a flash.
Now if we look to the world of numerology, the number 7 is associated with the fullness of life, perfection, and completeness.
I have been thinking about all of these interpretations of the number 7 as my time as Executive Director of West Valley Community Services comes to an end this month. The previous 7 years have passed both quickly and slowly. There are moments when it feels like I couldn't move fast enough. And yet, as I prepare to leave after 7 years at WVCS, I am filled with a sense of fullness and gratitude.
The experience of leading WVCS has been personally and professionally life changing. I have had the opportunity to engage in meaningful work, learn and grow, work with an incredible array of professionals and community members, and imagine and realize big dreams for our organization. And while our community and our region faced a host of challenges - COVID-19, inflation, and the housing crisis, to name a few - we were able to continue to deliver on our mission of fighting hunger and homelessness in the west valley because of our community.
And our community is really what has made this experience so fulfilling for me.
What do I mean by community? Our employees, volunteers, clients, donors, partners, and board members past and present who make West Valley Community Services the special place that it is. This community is what motivated me to show up every day - through all the ups and downs of the last 7 years. I was able to do that because each and every day I am inspired by the vision, passion, commitment, generosity, drive, humility, and kindness of our community. I am reminded of a quote by Robin Wall Kimmerer, mother, scientist, decorated professor, enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and author of Braiding Sweetgrass. She writes,
"I want to live in a society where the currency of exchange is gratitude and the infinitely renewable resource of kindness, which multiplies every time it is shared rather than depreciating with use."
A community of kindness and gratitude. That's our community. I couldn't have said it any better. And what a gift to have gotten a chance to spend the past seven years in service to this community.
So as I look back over my time here, I feel grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work alongside all of you, and be a part of the history of West Valley Community Services. Thank you for standing with us to fight food and housing insecurity - and thank you for all the ways you have touched my life personally.
As we approach our half-century anniversary next year, here's to the next 50 years of West Valley Community Services. May we continue to work to achieve our vision where every person has food on the table and every person has a roof over their head. Thank you for all you do to make that possible.