In My Write Mind
It was an oddity this holiday season, one that saw most of us home or with loved ones, unwrapping gifts while simultaneously wrapping our minds around the natural disaster that took place on the other side of the world. The natural disaster that didn't seem that natural at all.
As many of you know by now, the death toll has reached an alarming, an unfathomable 150,000 and growing, if you count those who are missing. And we've heard the stories--the miraculous survival stories told firsthand by people who never knew what was coming; people who will forever be affected by this unnatural occurrence.
People like my co-worker, who went to India to take a well-deserved month-long vacation after a year of hard work raising money for the League through grant writing. She's pretty important to what we do.
Hard to get along with? Yes. Her years of being one of a handful of caucasians in a Movement full of African Americans hasn't hardened her skin enough when it comes to criticism. Defensive is an understatement. At times it can be downright unnatural.
Hard to work with? Sure. There's been many a meeting where her opinions seem to supercede anyone else's.
Hard to replace? Definitely. Her knowledge is vast and her talents are immeasurable.
And that's important.
Her title here at the League is senior policy director. It turns out that she was in Sri Lanka only days before the waves hit, there as a tourist. She left and headed back to the Bali Islands for a day. Then back to India. Barely missing the waves, earning a new title. A title that hundreds of thousands of people can never have.
She got back to the states today, made contact with the job on New Year's Day. But not before returning to Sri Lanka to help in the relief and recovery work, almost assuredly remembering places she had seen just days ago...no longer being there. Affected. But alive.
And she made it back home, something so many weren't able to do. She went back to help, not acting like certain tourists who reportedly had the audacity to bask on ravaged beaches enjoying sun while so many grieved around them.
When my co-worker returns to work, whenever that is, I will remind her of our last encounter, me saying be safe and she, thankfully--by the grace of God and location--doing just that. We'll talk about all that she saw--the devastation, the miracles, the waves. We'll undoubtedly discuss her narrow escape, where she was when it all took place, how much warning she did or didn't have. I will try to wrap my mind around it all.
And down the line, we will surely talk about grants, which is what she does so well. And she'll be once again hard to deal with, and work with...and replace. Which is important, but not the most important thing.
It's been an odd holiday season for so many. Unnatural. One that saw so many lost and so many gone. And my co-worker is one of the few who made it back. This just in, though. As of December 29th, her title has changed. No longer will she go by senior policy director. Sure, that will still be on her business cards. But on her heart, she will be promoted to something much more important. Something that IS the most important thing. Survivor.
Hopefully, after some time, after being affected and happy to be alive, she'll be able to wrap her mind around that.
scribbled by Will at 1/03/2005 03:23:00 PM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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