Mayor's Update #14: What If?
By Mayor Bruce Peele
In the recent race for Blanco City Council, the difference between three candidates was a total of four votes. That vote difference between them meant being elected to the Blanco City Council and being almost elected.
So, the “what if” stories immediately began to circulate. “What if” the child of one candidate had not driven all the way to Blanco from San Antonio solely to cast a ballot for their candidate; then the results would have changed. “What if” those neighbors who had told a candidate they were voting in the election but then didn’t had actually voted? “What If” the candidates had done just one thing differently? “What if” may be the way that we remember the 2016 run for City Council.
However “what if” is a question that runs much deeper. Last week the City of Blanco experienced the tragic death of a one year old child and I had to ask myself “what if.” What if the child had been born to someone else? What if the parents had been born to someone else? To bring the story closer, what if I or the City of Blanco could have done something differently that would have made a difference to the child and the parent? What if.
I recently read the story of Steve Coyle. Steve was an active young man in the prime of his life who loved to swim and walk on the beach. One day he had an accident that left him permanently paralyzed. He lived as a quadriplegic, dependent on others for help with his daily needs. A few years later, he developed cancer.
Steve wrote a poem about asking God for healing. In it he regrets the hubris of youth that led him to take his life tent for granted. He asks his maker to restore his sagging canvas and broken poles. He prays to God. The answer God gives him is explained in a Bible verse and is full of hope.
“…Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Before he departed, Steve Coyle wrote a wonderful poem. Its last lines are:
“Please don’t grieve over some old tent,
Old canvas walls that have been spent.
For a mansion that has been built by Me
Will last you for eternity.”
With that assurance, Steve Coyle gladly broke camp and moved on.
Likewise, the candidates for Blanco City Council decided not to ask “What if”, but to accept “What is” and move on. In a wider perspective, the 2016 campaign and the tragic death of a child hopefully will not be events that confine us to living in the past and dwelling on “What if.” Instead, they should present the opportunity to ask “What is” and “What can be?” How can we make our city better? How can we protect our children? This should be our future, a future we embrace optimistically, with the sure knowledge of the past and the positive outlook of our citizens to guide us forward.