Some of you may recall that I started our year of offerings to Cody Living magazine with an article called, “It Really is a Wonderful Life”. The premise of the article was for people to seek ways to positively impact those around us for the good of our community. I asked people to adopt a “ten-foot circle” approach – suggesting people seek to make a positive difference to those around them. Who would have though the ten-foot circle would be overshadowed by a 6 foot “social distance”?

Who would have ever imagined how the world could change so dramatically in a few short weeks? As I write this month’s article, I find myself trying to imagine what will be different when this article is published in May. Just what trials will we face as a community, as a state or a nation? Though I assume they will be many, I will project that in typical Wyoming fashion, we’ll emerge from this pandemic stronger, more committed and more resilient than ever.

It’s times like this that test our mettle. Our boundaries will be pushed, and our faith challenged. Tribulation produces my favorite word, steadfastness. Steadfastness is the unwavering commitment and dedication to your “Why”. And of course, your “Why” is what gets you out of bed in the morning.

Remember the old Billy Ocean song, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”? The trials test our character too. Our integrity, our grit and our determination though strained, help us become stronger, provided we don’t lose optimism for the future. A person of character always seeks the best outcome. And that brings us to the word we have all spent hours contemplating – hope.

My career has been one of selling hope – hope in a better future for our community and its people. Many of you do the same. We wake up each day to face new challenges, overcome them and push forward to a new day. To people of faith it is a simple premise. Hope does not disappoint. There is no alternative.

The ten-foot circle takes on an even more powerful meaning now. That doesn’t mean ignoring social distancing. It does mean we need to be paying even greater attention to the people around us and the needs they may have. Throughout the various social media platforms, we’ve borne witness to amazing acts of generosity from local residents. People giving, giving and then giving some more. Businesses mandated closed, opened their back doors to continue serving people. They’ve become more creative, innovative and have adapted to persevere.

And we can’t forget those who face the fire every day. Essential workers who can’t stay at home and step daily into the fray. Words can’t offer enough praise and thanks to them.

I don’t know about you, but I see a different demeanor in people. There is a heightened focus on who and what is important. The things that we take for granted are now appreciated all the more. Simple things take on a whole new meaning. I think we’re all spending more time contemplating our “Why?”

The people of Cody have seen tough times before. Each time, the community turned their collar to the wind, withstood the storm and emerged even stronger. This time will be no different!