Sunday, May 4, 2014

Clearing thoughts

My thoughts got uncrowded this week. On Monday I attended an hour-long information session for mediators considering serving at the Oso mudslide disaster. Pairs of mediators will be knocking on doors of people in the area to see what they might still need. Many services are available, but some residents might not know about them. The situation was described as "fluid" and "a pilot". I signed up for the required two-day crisis counseling training, but within two hours I emailed the office to say I had decided, with regret, to pass up the opportunity. Instead, I said, I'd be available to work in the office to replace the staff members who were participating in the Oso project. I've heard from the office that they do want me to help.

It's interesting how that came to pass. I'm currently taking a MOOC (massive open online class) on Practical Ethics. During a discussion on our moral responsibility to help the poor, a speaker talked about how best to give. He advised a young finance major, for example, to consider whether it would be more useful for him to join a nonprofit and work in the field for that agency, or whether getting a higher-paying job and then donating a chunk of money might be more productive from the giving perspective. "Anyone can work in the field, but not everyone can make very, very good money and donate a lot of it."

I applied that idea to my current decision. I decided that other mediators can go to Oso, but only I can be Art's wife as he goes through his medical testing. I felt better immediately - always a sure sign I've made a decision in alignment with my values. And I went with Art to two appointments this past week, and will go to two more in the next few days. In between times, I may be at the dispute resolution center in some capacity.

I used the same line of thinking this weekend. I wanted to attend a membership class at my church that's offered two or three times a year. I was also invited to the Greek Orthodox baptism of my neighbors' baby, Elsa. I decided late last night to go to the baptism. I knew I would miss the class. But I figured that little baby will only be baptized once, it was important to the family that I attend, and I can go to the next membership class at my own church. In the big picture, it's above love and community, and today it was about Elsa. That decision felt good too.

My sister and her husband leave Anchorage tomorrow in their motorhome. She and I have talked about house rules for the period they're living in our back yard. Seems like "neighbors sharing a plot of land" is a good starting point, but we listed some other guidelines. Alyx and I are both verbal and active and tend toward intensity (!), so it's important for us to make some agreements ahead of time rather than hoping things will just work out.  

On a lighter note, I decided spontaneously on Thursday to participate with a group in a "no sugar May".  It's not a diet. I can eat anything I want as long as it has no sugar. Turns out that is quite an order! My customary morning mocha without sugar is a cup of coffee, and I can make that at home for cheaper. For a day or two I was annoyed with the idea, but my body is happier now. And my shopper, Art, has brought home vegetables and salad ingredients and cooked me a pot of black beans. I'm at the end of day four and still okay. I apply the "one day at a time" mantra to this project. Instead of stewing over the excess weight, I got presented with a "not a diet"eating opportunity. Sounds good to me!


DJan said...

Sounds like you've made some very good decisions lately, Linda. I like the "no diet" idea, and the fact that you are going to be with Art while he makes his doctor rounds. There's only one of you, after all! :-)

Olga Hebert said...

I am glad that you found a way to be with Art through his medical testing. You listen to your heart.

Tom Sightings said...

Interesting thoughts on practical ethics. As for the dietary restriction ... I gave up red meat a few years ago, for health and other reasons, and now I don't miss it at all. In fact, on the odd occasion when I do consume red meat, it upsets my stomach and just kind of generally grosses me out. Only to say ... you get used to whatever you want to get used to. But sugar? Man, that would be a tough one for me. But for you, it might just be the right thing to do.

Linda Reeder said...

Your thinking always sounds very clear to me, and you continue to impress me with the depth of your thinking.
Very interesting thinking on practical ethics.
Going without sugar would be VERY hard for me.I'll be interested in a later report on this.

Madeline Kasian said...

Linda,I always learn something from your posts. Your message about discrimination when making choices and how you make decisions is timely for me right now when I am newly retired and trying to figure out where to put my energies.

I tend to really think things through like you do, and I enjoy your willingness to share even the difficult stuff.

I pray and hope that your husband has good appointments, I am sure your being there will be extremely helpful!

Madeline Kasian said...

P.S. How are you living without cookies,pie,muffins??? I sure could use to reduce my sugar intake as well!!!!!

Dave Brown said...

Interesting decision making and great discerning of how you can contribute yet still be with Art. Hope all goes well with the medical tests and whatever treatment.

Perpetua said...

You've made some very wise and kind decisions there, Linda.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Thanks for describing how you've worked through these various questions, Linda. Wise choices, I'd say. It's always good when you feel better after making a particular decision, isn't it!

Suzanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne said...


Sometimes the things I want to do and the things I need to do collide. Those times make for an interesting internal debate, but when I am totally honest with myself, the choice is clear, even if it means passing up a good opportunity.

I think it is easier to tell ourselves that we can handle everything, than it is to honestly evaluate the situation and accept that other obligations take precedent.

Your comment, "consistent with my values" is not only a great factor for decision making, it is also a great way to live.

Maybe if more people followed your example, they'd make fewer bad decisions. Take care.