Archive for April, 2009

Remembering Robert Cotten

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Friend of Kathy
Friend of Larry
Friend of Kim
Loved by Mary
The quiet fellow with well trimmed beard
Found his peace last night

Its called My-opia because we only see from one perspective, usually ours

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Its been a tiring few weeks. Coordinating and following through on hundreds of small changes to customize our Fall offerings for the people who will lead them. The 80/20 rule seems to be in effect, we had about 80 percent of the schedule right, and the 20% we had to fix was mostly related to learning how to schedule rooms correctly, adjusting to new university scheduling policies, and a change in computer systems that seems more complicated than we’d hoped.

The people i work for / work with are, for the most part understanding of the challenges in getting these things coordinated (about 180 courses, five days of the week, 9 hours in the schedule day, 25 rooms, and 50 people… 180x5x9x25x50 is that really over 10 million possible combinations?) but we’re also in a period of change. We’ll start next fall with fewer faculty due to financial limitations, fewer classrooms due to space limitations, and more demand for both. As I said, most faculty are working with us, even those who we’ve asked to teach out of their comfort zone. But every once in a while you bump into someone who is so busy, they can only see their world, their challenges, their future.

Those are always hard conversations, hearing the passion, which sometimes sounds like anger, and trying to get perspective to ask yourself “what are they saying to me?” Is this about feelings of alienation? or feelings they were disrespected? What is this about?

I admit to a bad reaction to these… I didn’t want to have to try and solve the impossible situation they were presenting to me. I just couldn’t see through the energy they were delivering to see the question… and lost my perspective, and interest in trying to serve the larger group. I shouldn’t let the 20% govern my work for the 80%, and maybe someone higher up will solve it with a “do this” instruction that will give me a basis for action, until then, i have to keep things as is.

We’ve got a friend who moved from hospitalization into the last stages of hospice care this week. We were hoping he’d be able to make the survivors lap in the upcoming relay for life but its not looking good. I’m also remembering the pain and loss of my friends and colleagues at Virginia Tech this week. This sorrow will never leave me it seems, maybe it shouldn’t. But in a strange way, i’m grateful for both of these things, they took me out of my – my-opic view of life, trying to make this schedule work and keep everyone happy. I realize thats a good goal, but its not what life is about. The end Rob is facing is very real, so real those around him are living in a state of shock, everyone is doing what they can, knowing its all about comfort for him, and comforting those closest to him. The people at Virginia Tech, their loss, the opening of Norris Hall again (did they use my design in part?) brought back my failures that day, lives are most important. My little world, beautiful as it is on slow weekends on the porch here at Brook Hollow, is not whats most important, caring for those who need caring for, even those people in my face expressing anger and passion, thats the important thing for me, and maybe for us all… now how can i show them the energy they direct at me would be better directed at helping people?

Thats what i have to learn.
Take Care,
Be good to each other, you never know what the person next to you is going through.
Remember those who died at Virginia Tech this week, and their families and friends .