Village Viewpoint January 2019

By Susan Flood, Executive Director

What will 2019 bring for Beverly/Morgan Park residents?  If you are like most people you’ll spend at least a few minutes this week looking ahead, making plans and, dare I say it, making a new year’s resolution or two.  This often includes a process of looking back as well as forward.

When I consider this, I remember the old saying, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” I don’t particularly like the word “doomed” when I think about the history in our corner of the world.   We have so many things to be proud of in this incredible “Village in the City.” We are lucky here, thanks to thoughtful steps to preserve historical buildings; a simple drive through the neighborhood reminds us of the positive role history plays in our lives.

Of course, when we consider the past, we’ve got to decide which past to remember. Whose story are we telling, and why?  The stories that make up our history come from the perspectives of the tellers. Certain characters, facts and themes get highlighted while others fade. The beauty in this reality is that each and every time we have a choice in how we tell it and in how we hear it.

In this way, our corner of the city takes on the dynamics of a small town. We see the people who make up our narratives over and over again in the course of months, weeks, sometimes days.  Standing in line with us at the grocery store, seated on the lawn for a baseball game, waiting in the car for school drop offs and enjoying an evening at a local restaurant or pub.

What a gift and what a responsibility.

Making predictions and resolutions for a new year can be a complicated process. If we all commit ourselves to the spirit that built this remarkable community, think of the history we can write.  In the writings of Buddha, is one simple idea with great power: Before, during and even AFTER you say something, make sure it doesn’t hurt anyone.  I can think of no more powerful resolution for the citizens of our Village in the City.

Happy New Year everyone.