During the Easter season, we spend time with our families, we celebrate with our friends and neighbors, and we are thankful for our many blessings. It’s a time when people come together to help one another; to love one another.
South Dakotans have been through a brutal winter this year, with many severe storms from December through April. It has been a struggle, but one we have gotten through together. Through small acts of kindness and by lending a helping hand, South Dakotans continue to show their strength even in difficult times.
We often think of Easter as a celebration of the light, but it is also a celebration of the darkness. The joy of Easter Sunday means nothing without the sorrow that comes before it. And if there is one thing that the people of South Dakota have taught me, it’s that tough times are always easier to get through together.
The Bible tells us to love thy neighbor as we love ourselves. And this winter, South Dakotans have done so time and time again. I have seen folks helping ranchers bring in their cattle ahead of a winter storm, clearing neighbors’ driveways to help them get to work on time, and bringing homecooked meals to friends in need. I truly think that no one loves their neighbor better than a South Dakotan.
I commend our people for their hope and for their faith: the hope that we would get through this treacherous winter, and their faith that springtime is coming. Easter reminds us of these things.
Just as spring brings new life to the earth, so does Jesus bring new life to us.
I do not know how much longer our winter will last, but I do know that spring is coming. Warmer days are ahead. And South Dakotans will help one another and love one another just as much in the warmth as we have in the cold. That’s just how we operate.
I am proud of what our people have endured. We always seem to come out of tough times stronger than before. The people of South Dakota have earned my trust, my respect, and my faith – and I will always do my best to be worthy of theirs.
So I wish everyone a very Happy Easter. I hope that you can spend this season with those that you love. And I thank you, South Dakotans, for always being there for each other – for embodying the kind of love that Jesus has for us through your love for one another. You are a light in this world, a little glimpse of springtime. May God continue to bless each and every one of you.