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Unseen gifts

Since sometime in the 1970s, the furnace in our attic, pictured here, has quietly wheezed a bit of heat into the historic jailhouse cells, and then into The Myrna Loy auditorium built in their place. (Yes, The Myrna Loy used to be a jail. Art transforms everything.) This year our attic furnaces gave up the ghost.

Sometimes you don’t appreciate the silent gifts you receive until they disappear.

This week, as these dinosaurs are getting dismantled over my head, I’m thinking about all of you who quietly work to make our living space (read: community) more livable. Joan Bird, who grows onions for Food Share. Lenny Eckhardt, the silent genius behind most of the music events in Helena, particularly at The Myrna Loy. Russ Van Paepeghem of Superior Heating, who’s laboring overhead as I write this, and donating a big chunk of his costs.

And you. I’m thinking of what you do. The gifts you give the world that go largely unseen. Just like these old heaters, chugging away in the attic, you do your work and hope it’s enough, knowing that it never quite is.

Thank you. Thank you for your resilience, your willingness to show up, your hope, your readiness to give to exhaustion, and for whatever muscle you use to push past that into doing good work again.

If we didn’t endure the troubles, we might not see the gifts. As we step forward into the dark and thoughtful months ahead (hopefully with plenty of heat), it’s good to acknowledge that much of the help we long for is already on its way to us. And some of that help comes from hands we’ll never see. That’s what community is. Thank you for being part of it

With love, from The Myrna Loy.

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