Honoring Values and Embracing Change

I was out of state with my partner, his son had recently died unexpectedly. The fragile nature of life and the importance of family was in my breath and pulsing in my veins. Things that are important really find the surface in times of loss and grief. A breath of relief had arrived and funeral arrangements were very close to being finalized. Next, I get a call that my Dad had a health issue. His vision in one eye went blurry. He himself shared his concern. This is a man who waited a day to go to the doctor with a bee stinger in his eyeball. This is the man who unsaddeled his horse and got him out to pasture, while his hand “was facing the wrong direction”. Needless to say if my Dad was concerned, I was concerned. I was afraid of a mild stroke. It turned out to macular degeneration, caught early, with medical intervention the progression of vision loss could be slowed.

Just a week later suprising news from my Mom, my Dad suggested they sell the farm and move to town. Wait, what? It’s been in the family since 1904, homestead by my great-grandparents. The house they lived in, was home, my home, my Dad’s home, my Grandparents home, and my Great-grandparents! That got my siblings to call me. We all had our feelings, yet it was Dad’s decision. A values training activity to Restorative Justice Circles is to imagine having a conversation with your family. You and your siblings don’t agree on the inherited family business. The question is after the conversation, how do you want to be remembered. I recalled this activity from my 2002 Circle Training with Kay Pranis. I want to be respectful, kind, generous. And so . . . I offered support.

March 3, news of Dad’s vision. March 9, they are selling the farm. March 21, my parents visit and we enjoy a fundraising dinner for SCVRJP. That afternoon I made pies and had a great visit with my Dad. He seemed at peace with his decision to move to town. I saw my Father, as aging and aware of times in life he had no fears. He is living his reality of age, declining health. I felt love and compassion, I felt fortunate for the strong relationship and connection to my family. I wanted to be like my Father, and really live life as life is. On March 22nd, I learned my Dad didn’t want to sell everything. So, I offered to come home and help. I decided that if my parents needed to move to town, I could come home.

Honestly, at first, I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea. I slept on it, I thought and I thought. As I held the idea of leaving SCVRJP, it opened up the potential to just do Restorative Justice differently. At the fundraising dinner, I felt a sense of a new chapter, an accomplishment or new level for SVRJP. The board of directors had fully handled the event, they did an awesome job! SCVRJP is in our community. Leaving might cause it to look different. The question came to mind about making this change. I thought about seasons, I decided to give the summer to making the transition. By April 1, I had made up my mind. I was going to leave, and take the time to find what I want to do next.

My heart is at peace about my decision. I will miss many, many people. However, I will enjoy a slowed down pace. I’m ready to put 12 hour days behind me. Non-profit director work requires a lot. I am looking forward to doors that might open if I finally get that book written, or I focus on being a free-lance consultant. Those thoughts are for the fall. Right now, this summer, is about helping SCVRJP turn the page to a new chapter. Many people have contributed gifts of time and resources. On behalf of all the past volunteers and especially our speakers that share stories, I am going to see that the transition is positive. The last lap of my service here begins, I want to say THANK YOU, to all of you that shared in part of the last decade.