President’s Message – Together Through The Highs and Lows
At the Thanksgiving dinner table last week, I was looking at my relatives across a plate overfilled with food when I began to realize how lucky I am. I like my relatives as much as I like my friends and, to paraphrase an old quote, "I didn't pick my relatives.” So, I sat back, smiled and enjoyed the moment.
Earlier this week I got the reminder and agenda for my next Sigma forum meeting. As I read it over, I considered my luck redoubled. I love the people in my forum. I truly look forward to being with them. Our meetings are just the right balance, vacillating between the serious and the sublime (depending on what happened to whom since the last meeting.) Over the years we have learned from each other. We've grown in "life savvy" together, living through short and long as well as mild and severe difficulties.
We self-moderate. Each moderator has brought the best out of us. We not only respect each other, but we trust each other. Being reminded of confidentiality is our call to attention. It's our reminder that we are about to share information that, often, we entrust to no one else. Then we listen because we are genuinely interested. We ask in order to understand. Finally, we share, support and appreciate. No one (except the presenter) expects a payoff, but we all get payoffs, and they’re huge. Then we move on to dinner which is, well, a cross between a State dinner and a scene from Animal House.
Since July, Judy and I have begun our visits to all forums. The feedback has been helpful for tweaking various components of EFBC. A secondary benefit for me has been to witness the genuine connections and mutual respect within each forum. Outside in the parking lot, the members arrived as individuals, but inside, they became a unit, an ensemble -- like a well-cast TV show. The banter reveals evolving chemistry among people who are often quite different from each other.
My forum has been around since the inception of EFBC and while people have come and gone, we remain solid. I don't pretend to see our same closeness in the newer forums, but I do see the traces, the sprouts and the connections that promise the same feelings that I hold for my forum experience. In the longer established forums there's an evident depth and practiced grace. I feel lucky to have witnessed this.
As you hold your next forum meeting, take a moment to sit back and look around the room. Recognize the value that each person brings, the personality that he/she brings that fits perfectly, like a puzzle piece. Then, consider the value that this collective brings to your life. I hope you feel as I do… that you are lucky to be part of it.
I wish you a happy, healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year.