I heard a story once that I have never forgotten. A man built a boat, painstakingly, lovingly, with skills and precision. It took time and patience. The day finally came when the man took the boat to the waters edge to launch. As he and the boat were about to slip into the water, his wife came and stood on the bank, hands on hips. She called out one word, “No!”
What kind of a person says “NO” to dreams, to ambition, to a willingness to build something lasting? When I heard this story, I knew I wanted to be the kind of person who says, “Yes!” to life. I wanted to encourage people with their dreams.
“Stepheny, what has this got to do with Main Street Rocky Mount?” I know there is a viewpoint that says, nothing can possibly change in Rocky Mount because of one problem or another. I don’t recommend white-washing problems, our circumstances. our obstacles, but saying “No!” and disregarding all the positive things that are happening, discourages people from thinking BIG. For the young people who stay and new people who are arriving, for the businesses, both old and new, we need to say “YES!” to Rocky Mount everyday.
Painstakingly, lovingly, with skills and precision, people are working together to honor the past and build the future in Rocky Mount. Don’t be the person who says “No!” to that future.
(A version of this post has been published as ‘a letter to the editor’ in the Rocky Mount Telegram on Saturday, August 22, 2015, thanks to Jeff Herrin, who said, “Yes” to publication.)
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