Getting in the spirit

Troubled times remind us of what’s really valuable

These are tough economic times, the toughest in many decades, especially for those who’ve lost homes or jobs or are retired or near retirement and have seen their nest eggs go in the tank. For them, the bad economic news is more than news; it’s a hard hit to the gut, the harsh reality of lives upended and not enough money to pay the bills.

There’s a silver lining to these darks clouds, but don’t tell them that. They’re too busy trying to survive to see an upside. The rest of us, who haven’t lost our homes or jobs (yet) and aren’t dependent on our retirement money (yet), enjoy the luxury of being able to look beyond the gloom and doom to what the troubles may teach us and how we may change for the better as a result.

The Washington Post reported recently on how people are examining their core values and reordering their priorities in an acknowledgement that the greatest security is to be found not in material things, but rather in friends, family, spirit and community. As one 69-year-old man put it, “Maybe a certain brand-name label on your pants isn’t really necessary, and what’s necessary is that you’re wearing pants.”

We who live in the Chico area have many reasons to feel grateful. Ours is a well-balanced community economically, not rich but prosperous enough and, most important, healthily diverse, with farming forming a solidly dependable foundation on which our medical, educational, retail and governmental institutions can stand. We will weather this economic storm just fine, especially if we take care of each other.

Fortunately for those who are hurting because of the downturn, there are many people and organizations ready and willing to help. We urge our readers to get in the spirit of the holiday season by being generous with their time, energy and money. Go to for a complete list of nonprofit helping agencies that can always use volunteers and donations.

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff of the Chico News & Review.