About a staggering loss to our community

 Folks are in desperate need of spiritual food

Our community is, again, mourning the loss of loved ones. My sincerest love, prayers, and positive thoughts are with all families who are struggling with loss. As Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Although Valentine’s Day is now over, the necessity of loving others remains just as crucial. As I said on Valentine’s Day, “I have come to know that Valentine’s Day is not about experiencing or finding love, but about sharing it. I hope all of my loved ones – single or taken – have enjoyed this day. I love you all so well.” 
My activism and advocacy are powered by love. My heart breaks because of the struggle so many people face. 
I think of Colton Ritchie a lot – our seven-year-old friend who lost his battle to DIPG on February 14, 2018 – and his story. He truly embodied love, inspiring and uplifting people by nature. 
My loved ones live scattered across Eastern Kentucky. My loved ones live in hollows and in valleys; by creeks and in towns; and in many areas. 
I am so grateful for my family and friends who continue to support me, but I consider all of the people in our region my loved ones. In many cases, I have friends who have become family. I have learned that it is very important to love others and that has allowed me to connect with many people. 
With that comes my belief in the power of community. As I stated last week, I believe we must continue to work to create a greater sense of community in Breathitt County. When it comes to issues of importance, such as the opioid epidemic, the ever-dwindling local job market, etc., our connectedness as a community is one of our greatest assets. 
As Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” We are called to be a light. We are called to take his word to people who need it. 
As I witnessed food boxes being delivered over the weekend, I thought about this verse. I thought about how people from all areas of Breathitt County took action and worked as His hands and feet. 
Folks are in desperate need of spiritual food. Sharing a word of compassion, kindness, or giving someone a pat on the back (maybe figuratively during the COVID era) is one way to do the work that is needed. 
I am continually reminded of the power of our words, especially during this time. I love you. I am thankful for you. I value you. 
May these words be as powerful (perhaps more so) than the ugly, mean-spirited ones we too often hear. Thank you for reading. 
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