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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Quirky, beautiful diversity


11/20/13
For the first time in weeks, months? I wake up without a sense of dread. Without that feeling in my stomach that in a moment, due to a random circumstance, misunderstanding, annoyance, or deliberate stratagem, or just plain evil, all could be gone and the story brought to an end. Hard to accept. We will be here. We will be OK.
At my morning neighborhood Bible study, one of my colleagues says, It was so wonderful, at the meeting, to see West-Park in all of its quirky, beautiful, diversity. And I accept that. Because it’s true.
Cara and Stephen drop by to review last night. Stephen was responsible to make our presentation so I was worried when he wasn’t arriving and the docket was advancing ahead of schedule. He and Cara arrived just in the nick of time. My friend Mark, arriving from the United Nations, seeing us outside said, So you’ve been put in timeout already? And we laughed and went inside.
Nan, our bookkeeper, stops by to drop off a random piece of meaningless mail that came to SPSA. What she really wants to know, and is afraid to ask, because we’ve neglected to tell her and she thinks if it was good news we would have told her what happened, is exactly that. What happened? And so I tell her, We won. The vote was 59-16. We reversed it from a 38-35 September loss to a resounding win. And that is enough for her. Her usually stoic face relaxes. And she smiles. Good, she says, good.
Carman Moore comes in. He and Lotte want to bring their piece  back only this time with an  emphasis on adult survivors of child sexual abuse. And have an open discussion time, perhaps with social workers. I’m aware that we can actually schedule events for next year. And I’m going to accept that. It’s real now.
Lauren from Project Reachout arrives with Sean in their van. They’ve got anther transitional housing placement for Sean. Who’s been in and out of the hospital all week. Maybe this time it will work. She gathers all his things except for one bag. I go out. He rolls down the window. Shakes my hand. Says thanks. All the best, I say, all the best.
Katherine from Bread and Puppet comes in. I tell her the news. She smiles. Hugs me.
Anna brings Keith in. I call my friends at Westside Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing. Immediately, an alert social worker picks up on some veterans’ angles that could help Keith out. He begins to yes but me. And I tell him that is not acceptable. He’s got to make the appointment, or I’m done. And we talk about his daughter. And how he can’t let her see him like this. And I am losing patience. That’s about you, man, not her. All she wants to do is to love you. Denying her that is about you, not a kindness to her. Suck it up, let her love you, that’s what courage is, being a man is, not some stupid pride thing. Don’t call that courage.
Another dance company comes in for a tour.
RL wants to know the results. Does he have to move his stuff to 78 below? I tell him we’re OK.
David G. in to work out details for a December concert. We can do that.
It’s a normal day. And that in itself is an amazing miracle. It could have been different. Normal is a miracle. Well, maybe not exactly.
It took hard work. It took covering all the bases. Three different meetings/committees/councils to get through. Just to get back on the docket. And then dealing with machinations and strategies of opponents. Shocking surprise maneuvers. And lots of strategizing with cool headed people. Old school organizing.  Relationships.
Going to the meeting totally prepared. Ready for any surprise.  Issue introduced by two separate committees, one re. viability, the other re. finance. Then our presentation. Danielle’s video. Stephen’s power point. A dozen of our congregation standing with us. And then the committees took over. It was them defending their report, not with us defending our right to exist. And we had passed out FAQ pages answering every question. I went to the meeting without one more email to be written and sent and not one more phone call to make. And I went onto the meeting knowing I had 50 votes, if all held. 
And the proof of organizing well done? I never spoke a word the whole meeting. Everyone else carried the fight. And we controlled the debate. Everyone prepared. Still…those moments, waiting for the vote to be counted…your life passes in front of you. And when the count is announced, it feels like grace. And you just accept it.
Learnings:
1.    Do the work. Answer all the questions. Cover every base.
2.   Old school organizing. Relationships. Phone calls. E-mails. And count the votes. My mentor Philip taught me, the problem with liberals is they don’t count the votes.
3.    Pray. And get all your friends to pray. And for those who don’t pray, think good thoughts. Direct intentions. Meditate. And pray some more.
4.    Don’t do number 3 until you’ve done 1 and 2.


Time to tell RL the details.

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