Living up to our name


Last updated 11/8/2022 at Noon

No matter how the midterm election turns out, some folks are going to be mad. And sometimes when people get vexed, they lash out. I just hope that won’t happen in Sisters. I’d like to think that whether or not we agree on all things political (and who does?) we could still get along. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could live up to the name of our town? After all, Sisters is named after the pristine white-capped mountains we all admire and enjoy, and their names are Faith, Hope, and Charity. These are attributes the whole world and the state of Oregon could use a lot more of these days.

My mother, who has passed away, used to visit us in Sisters and she’d often comment on the friendliness of our little town. She’d mention how kind and helpful people could be here. Call it small-town charm or a slower pace, but I had to agree with her. Moving from the valley to Sisters had been a real treat for us. But we’ve been here through three decades and have seen a lot of changes—both good and not so good.

Anyone who’s been here more than a few years knows our little town has grown a lot recently.

Businesses and people have come and gone, a multitude of new houses have been built, and new folks have arrived to fill them.

But that’s not the only reason things have changed.

Thanks to the pandemic, we all learned to be standoffish and maybe haven’t reached out as much as we could.

Thanks to relying on instant Internet “news,” we might’ve made some snap judgments or even assumed the worst of others.

And thanks to a lot of political missteps (on both sides) some of us have drawn restrictive lines in the sand.

And our differences have worked overtime to divide us.

Not exactly the ingredients for a happy community.

And thinking about the midterm election and how people might react made me wonder whether our city is able to live up to her beautiful mountain name. Is it possible, in today’s somewhat hostile culture, for Sisters and her citizens to become known as faithful, hopeful, charitable? A city of Sisterly love?

North Sister’s name is Faith — perhaps because she’s a challenging mountain and it takes faith to make it to the top. There are many kinds of faith. Like faith in God — or faith in our fellow human beings. It takes faith to recognize that, whether we vote red or blue, for the most part we want the same things. Don’t we all want to preserve human rights and freedom of speech? Don’t we hope everyone has a safe place to live, good schools, food on the table, affordable fuel, basic human needs? Can we foster that kind of belief in our fellow Sisters citizens, that we really aren’t all that different? It might take some faith.

Middle Sister’s name is Hope. When I was 17 I hoped I could climb her, and I needed some help and encouragement to reach the top. Are there ways we can help and encourage one another? I was waiting in a checkout line with a sluggish computer (not so unusual) but the woman behind me complained about “small town life.” I’m sure she was tired of waiting, but I couldn’t stop from making a Pollyanna comment about how a wait in Sisters beats waiting in any bigger city any day. I’m not sure my words fostered any hope or changed her day, but I felt better. Because I believe hope, like despair, can become contagious.

South Sister’s name is Charity. Is it because she kindly offers the easiest access to her peak? The word charity, in the Bible, is interchangeable with the word love. And I believe the best kind of charity stems from love. If a charitable act is the product of genuine love, whether it’s sharing with a panhandler, caring for an ailing neighbor, helping the homeless, supporting a ministry — it becomes so much more than just “making a donation,” because your heart is involved.

So, despite any ill feelings over the outcome of the recent election, I’m hoping we can move on, and that Sisters can return to the old small-town, friendly ways many of us remember. Let’s live up to our namesake and become faithful, hopeful, and charitable with each other. Maybe we can become known as The City of Sisterly Love.


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