• Bill Petrie

Hope Amongst the Ruins

Hope is a good thing.

Every year, I post a very personal blog called “Introspective Candor.” It’s my final blog to cap the year where I ask myself some very hard questions and publicly share my answers as I seek to learn and grow as the calendar marches on. Today, however, that blog will have to wait a week.


I’ve lived just south of Nashville in Franklin just shy of ten years and have come to love the area to the point it has become home. Yes, it’s grown wildly since my family has planted roots here, but the area still retains much of the small-town southern charm that speaks to our souls: cute locally owned businesses, strangers say hello with a smile to each other, and there’s live music on just about every corner. Candidly, there are few better places on earth to live.


Friday morning – on Christmas Day – that quiet charm was shattered as an explosion rocked the historic district in downtown Nashville. By now, you likely about the RV that was parked in the middle of 2nd Avenue filled with explosives that detonated at 6:30 AM after a computerized voice loudly asked people to evacuate. Thankfully, only three people were hurt but the damage to the area has been called “catastrophic.” When the Mayor uses words like “rebuild,” you know the destruction is serious.


It’s been a hell of a year for Nashville with the deadly tornadoes in March, large-scale power outages in May due to a derecho, the ongoing pandemic, and now a disturbing explosion on Christmas Day. It’s become a sign of 2020 – just when things start to settle, we regain a bit of normal, or we simply breathe a sigh of relief, an event seems to happen to jolt us back to our shared reality.


Even as I look at the ruins on 2nd Avenue, I find myself having a tremendous amount of hope:


  • I hope we have more better days ahead of us than behind us

  • I hope that we never lose the ability to see good – even in the face of so much negativity

  • I hope that my boys continue to forge their own path

  • I hope the vaccine for COVID-19 will provide the vehicle for a less-confined life

  • I hope the creativity in our society continues to flow, even when we don’t need to be creative to have social experiences

  • I hope we all realize that what brings us together is far more important than what drives us apart

  • I hope that we continue to intentionally create nuggets of joy, for that joy creates “the good old days”

  • I hope that I grow as a business partner, marketer, writer, podcaster, human, husband, and father


I know things won’t magically change on Friday when the calendar will finally display 2021, but I have hope for a better year. As Andy Dufresne said in The Shawshank Redemption, “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”


Today, even amongst the ruins of Music City, I have hope.

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