Monday, March 14, 2011

Raining and Pouring

This has been an interesting last couple of weeks - and last couple of days.  This entry may be a bit rambling but I've found that when there's a lot on my mind it's sometimes helpful to express it in writing.

They say that when it rains it pours.  In a purely literal sense, last week we had over 4 inches of rain in 2 days and the Susquehanna River is at or above flood levels.  We were absolutely soaked, and the last couple of days have provided some much needed (and appreciated) time to dry out.

In a metaphor sense - it's true as well.  I've got so many irons in my fire at the moment that it's scary, but I'm doing ok.  Let me share a few of them....

Last month I did an interview with Cate Barron, the Executive Editor of the local newspaper, the Patriot News.  She wanted to interview me for a story about my vision for the LGBT Center that she hoped to include in a monthly glossy magazine that they publish titled "In Central Pennsylvania".

Excerpts from the interview appeared in the latest edition that came out a couple of weeks ago. See it here.  I don't typically feel like a "rock star" but I'm glad that my work over the last ten years stands on its own.

The reason any of this is relevant at the moment isn't about self indulgence or ego.   Today the organization will finally make the fact that I have resigned my position with the organization, and will be leaving, public.  It was a decision I made shortly after careful consideration following our last board meeting a couple of weeks ago for a number of reasons.  Regardless of specifics, the most important consideration remains ensuring the ongoing healthy operation of our youth program component.  The last few months have been full of growth and direction, but at the same time I'd be lying if I didn't admit that they have been full of frustration for everyone concerned as well.  I'll have more to say on the subject when I can.

Do I have other plans right now?  No.  I don't.  This move isn't something I predicted of planned.  It's something that needed to be done so I did it.  The next couple of weeks will be spent finishing up my work here, deciding what's next, visiting my mom to make sure she's ok, and most likely going back west.  As this news becomes public today I expect the reality of it will begin to set in - I don't think that it has yet. But for a number of reasons - some of them being practical ones and others being simply life direction ones - there is a need to take care of things and move on.

I mentioned last week about some concern for my kidneys.   Recent lab tests indicated the potential for some serious problems but the results of my sonogram have relieved some of those fears and provide hope that things are ok.   That was a huge relief.  The next step is to visit with a urologist so the fun's certainly not over yet, but the news could have been much worse so I choose to look at the positive.  Stay tuned on that as well.

A friend and I went to the movie "The Adjustment Bureau" yesterday.  It was very interesting.

I've heard it described as a modern-day Matrix.  I don't know if I'd go that far, but there are certainly a number of things about coincidence and choice that are thought provoking.  I enjoyed it, especially given  my current life situation.  One interesting note: In the middle of the movie I had to go to the bathroom so I left the theater and began walking down the hallway towards the restrooms.  I suddenly asked myself, "Where am I?"  "What city am I in?"  The hallway was a generic one so there were no outward indications of location and through all my travels I sometimes find myself waking up wondering that same thing.  It was actually a fairly profound thing to have to stop for a moment to remind myself where I am right now.  I think the fact that it even happened at all is indicative of what's going on in my subconscious right now.

The Keystone Conference here over the weekend was well-done and very enjoyable.  Including the Butterfly Ball for youth on Friday night there were over 300 people registered which is amazing given the current "climate".  I'm told that the Colorado Gold Rush in Denver had significantly less than half that number of attendees which continues the trend where older, established events struggle while newer ones that started out as regional events grow by leaps and bounds.  This was only the 3rd year for this particular event and the growth nearly doubles each year which is testament both to the planning and to the community throughout the entire northeast (and beyond) who come to attend.

This year the event attracted community stalwarts such as Dr. Meltzer, Dr. O, and others who you typically find at only the largest events.  That is more than symbolic of how this event (and others like it) have grown.  It is a real indication of how things have changed, and continue to change.

I made some new friends.  I had the chance to spend time with friends I don't get to see that often.  I had some time to get to know Dr. Beck, a professor from the LA area (Rachel Levin) and her team who are doing a fascinating study, and others that I've previously only known thru email or reputation.  My talk on Friday during lunch went well.  I had fun.  And all in all it seems like the entire thing lasted far longer than the 3 days that I attended.

My lunchtime keynote on Friday was titled "What is Community and Why is it Important?", and my feelings on the subject are clear.  I'm glad that the words that came out of my mouth clearly articulated a number of important things, and that the overall message was one of empowerment.  Given the backdrop of some of the things that I'm sharing here, I'm relieved that things went as well as they did.

On Saturday evening I was visiting with friends in the bar at the hotel where the Keystone Conference was being held when I noticed that I had a message on my phone from my sister.  I listened to it and learned that she had received a call from the hospital near where my mom lives indicating that my mom had been admitted and was in the intensive care unit.  She had some internal bleeding following some procedures that she had a couple of weeks ago and the only information that the hospital would release was that she was "stable".  Needless to say, the mood of the evening changed quickly.

The last couple of days have been spent trying to figure out what's happening with her, help to arrange practical day-to-day things like caring for her dog from afar, and getting ready to hop on a plane at a moment's notice.  The fact that she's in the hospital there and none of her family is there is a significant sadness to me and is something that I'll need to confront moving forward.  But the beauty of the situation so far is that friends and neighbors have formed a wonderful support network for her and are able to provide information and care.  Without going into too many specifics, they stopped the bleeding, her neighbor indicates that she's in good spirits, and she's hoping to be released out of ICU today.  I hope so too.

I suppose on a deeper level things like this and my recent kidney situation are reminders of our fragility, the effects of age, and eventually the reality of our mortality.  My mom is a remarkably healthy 82 years old but she's constantly planning for the future.  She just refinanced her house, she's looking forward to her garden blooming again this year, and one of my most significant concerns is that this incident will have longer term emotional and psychological impacts.  One of the words I've been hearing in a variety of contexts recently is "resilient" and Lord knows it's true.  But eventually, that ends.

It's also a reminder to keep things in perspective.  The fact that I'll be unemployed in less than two weeks, that I'm dealing with kidney concerns and will soon be without health insurance, that my mom is in Intensive Care dealing with significant health concerns, that I'll most likely be moving, and other life realities puts other distractions into perspective.  I've got life things going on right now, family things, health things - it's sometimes easy to forget the important things.

I'll leave it at that for now.  It's time to get the day going.  I expect that the next couple of weeks will be full of upheaval.  The good news is that despite all of what I've shared here I'm feeling fairly calm.  For now.


Barbara said...

I don't think anyone expected to hear this from you, at least not yet. Knowing you as I do, following you from your blog, you will get through this in flying colors. You have always been a remarkable person. I wish you the very best in all your decisions. Keep us informed and I will certainly pray for you're health and good future.

Caroline said...

This is a bit like the movie trailer, open the blog and the world is not what you expected!

Every day we wake is a new adventure, good luck with your next move.

Caroline xxx

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Donna I can't tell you how surprised I was to read you had quit yet another job. I really thought this was the one you'd keep that it was something that you had a passion for that gave you the freedom to come n go as you please and aloed you the joys of meeting and speaking about subjects that are close to your heart...Whatever way you to choose to do I'm sure you'll land on your feet you always seem to....West ? Phoenix her eyou come....LOL

LindseyR said...

Donna, May the new adventure nurture your heart and bring you much joy. You enlighten so many with your courageous example. Thank you for the devotion you bring to the blog. It is wonderful. Good luck.