At this season of the year, it is common to consider the richness of our lives and enumerate the many things for which we are thankful. How often, I wonder, do these lists of blessings in our lives include those we are commissioned to serve? Do we consider our constituents to be high on the list of things for which we are grateful? Beyond a paycheck, our constituents provide us with experiences that greatly enrich our lives both personally and professionally. Do we recognize all that they bring into our lives?
One elderly community council board member’s monthly visits to city hall inspire me to do better. She comes faithfully, making her slow careful way down long hallways to personally deliver to city leadership the agenda for her small neighborhood council. The effort this costs her is clear in the shuffling, painful steps that move her slowly from office to office. Could this be more easily accomplished with an email, mailing, or fax? Of oourse. So why does this woman continue to make her laborious trips to city hall each month? It is an expression of love — her love for her community, her desire to work with and not against city leadership, her exhibition of how valuable the work the council does.
Thoughts of other dedicated citizen advocates remind me to consider the reasons I selected public service, and to question whether I’m meeting my objectives. Have I helped someone today? Is someone’s life better because of the service I provided this week? Has a process been improved, a form been simplified, or an answer provided that heightens someone’s positive perception of government?
So, today, I thank all of the constituents for whom I work. Thank you for inspiring me, for challenging me to consider other ideas, and for pushing me to identify the best solutions. Thank you for making the work I choose to do interesting, engaging, and vital. Thank you for your example, your effort, and your belief that we who serve truly serve. Thank you for making my city — and cities everywhere across our nation — truly great.