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Alexis Aaby: Columns end, but compassion is eternal

September 7, 2018

As Lurlene McDaniel once said, “From every ending comes a new beginning.” As this is to be my last article as a teen writer for the Post Bulletin, I see it only fit that it be based around the subject of endings and beginnings.

One of the most prominent endings that I see in Rochester is the retirement of our current mayor, Mayor Ardell Brede. He has been mayor since 2003, and as such, is the only mayor that I remember (since long-term memory doesn’t occur before age 3). Being mayor that long means that, in the words of the Dalai Lama from a conversation the two of them had together, “The people must be pleased with you.” In my opinion, he is certainly correct; I know I am pleased with his time as mayor, and will miss him when he leaves office.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview the mayor one last time, and when asked what he would miss most about his job after he retires, he answered with, “There are many things I will miss, but really, it’s the interaction with people, and when I say people, that’s the young people the most. They might be kindergarten, they could be first or second grade, but I do really enjoy it, especially when they ask questions. And quite frequently the first question is, ‘Do I have a limousine?’”

One of the most important accomplishments in my eyes that occurred during the mayor’s time in office was in September 2017, when our city was officially named a City of Compassion. When discussing this topic, Mayor Brede stated, “It’s very humbling to know that you’ve made that kind of impact, for the reason that, I believe, I’ve been compassionate.”

Steering away from Rochester’s ending and beginning for a moment, as I write this article, I leave for one of the most impactful beginnings of my life in two days time: college. This summer was a very busy time for me because of prepping for college, writing my articles, and trying to spend as much time with my high school friends and family as possible before we part ways for a while.

However, the end of my time in high school has sparked a new life in me, and I tried a lot of new things this summer.

For instance, last week, I went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for the first time. It is a gorgeous place, and I highly recommend going there if you haven’t been. Its current focus is on origami sculptures, and right outside its front doors are two giant origami cranes. If you do not know, cranes are a symbol of peace, prosperity, and, most prominently, hope. Hope for a better future and for your wishes to come true.

In relation to the topic of hope, there is a group in Rochester that I am part of called Journey of Peace. I have been asked to share that this group will be hosting an event, “Voices of Hope,” 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 28 at Assisi Heights Spirituality Center. There will be guest speakers from a variety of groups, discussion tables, and ways to show your own compassion through the event.

Wrapping up, I can tell you from experience that endings can be difficult. But oftentimes, even the worst endings give way to better beginnings if you try hard enough and look at the positive side of things.

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