When I sat down the other day to think about the past year, I found myself thinking of some words from “The Little Prince.”

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Susan Deschambault Courtesy photo

These words ring so true to me. They always have. My heart remains my compass, as it does for many of us. As I get older, and my time in the Legislature begins to wind down, I am looking forward to laughing, living and smiling with my family and friends at my side. I have dedicated my whole life to service, first as a local police commissioner, then as a social worker for decades and finally as a lawmaker. Throughout my entire career, it’s always been the “essential” and “invisible” things that have stayed with me and left their marks on me. These things are what make us human. They help us feel anger and forgiveness, joy and sorrow, and despair and hope. It’s these feelings that bring us closer together.

Now, even though it’s that time of year when people are making resolutions and setting goals to guide their personal and professional lives in the coming year, I’ve never really been much of a resolution maker or goal setter. That’s because it was always my clients or my constituents who gave me ideas. But, more importantly, they – along with my heart – showed me what truly mattered.

I would listen and meet with them while they shared their stories with me. Their stories became my sources of determination and inspiration to do what I could, with what I had in the time I was given, to advocate for them. I like to think that, if we focus on nurturing and strengthening our communities, our families and our homes, then we will enjoy happy, fulfilling lives.

What’s great about this is that we all have a role to play. During the winter, we can donate warm clothes, like coats, gloves, hats, mittens and scarves. We can help fill the cupboards and shelves at local food pantries. We can shovel sidewalks and driveways for our disabled and elderly neighbors, or mentor a teen who just wants to enjoy some quality time with a new friend. Also, have you noticed the Free Little Libraries popping up like fairy or gnome homes? If you have an extra book lying around, why not drop it off at a Free Little Library?

Books, clothes, fellowship and food. Let’s share them all.

From my heart and home to yours, I hope that you have a warm and wonderful holiday season full of blessings, gifts and wishes coming true. If you’re gathering with your family, then I hope you hold each other close. We are saying goodbye to another year, but hello to a new one.

As always, if you need assistance, please contact me. I’m happy to help in any way that I can.

Susan Deschambault represents Senate District 32, Alfred, Arundel, Biddeford, Dayton, Kennebunkport and Lyman. She can be reached at [email protected] or 207-287-1515.

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