Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Antidote to Exhaustion

First in a series of posts about the October 2010 UUA Board Meeting

The October UUA Board meeting was significantly different than the first full board meeting I attended in 2007, though just as many hours – 60 hours of board activities spread over 5 days. A full year into Policy Governance®, we still struggle with detail that may not entirely be board work - for example, we have over 20 board committees and 4 working groups, which are probably a bit more than John Carver had in mind. Still, we are focusing in much different topics than we were when I first joined the Board.

Topics from the Board meeting that will be explored in more detail over the next few months include the conversations held over the past 8 months with member congregations, regionalization of service delivery, plans for a Justice GA, potential by-laws changes, how the Board holds itself accountable, and some exciting approaches to further conversations with those we are accountable to.

What is emerging amid the liaison and committee reports and the hours spent within those groups, are some deep and important discussions that give me a glimpse of what it is like to focus on values and the future more than the past – and that make me hunger for more of it. Never have I been so keenly aware of the opportunity cost of “the way we do things around here” – the hours (within the board meetings and beyond) spent by board members (UUA and District) and so many other volunteers that keep us incredibly busy – and may or may not be moving us further towards what we are longing for as a faith.

On Wednesday night, board member (and the Reverend) Will Saunders quoted an exchange between poet David Whyte and Brother David, an Austrian monk who was a friend of his. Whyte had been working non-stop with a non-profit and finally hit a wall, bursting into a meeting to ask “Has anyone seen David? I need to speak with David.”

There was only one David in the organization – himself. After a moment of stunned silence, everyone in the room laughed – except Whyte. He had been serious – and was exhausted. Later he said to Brother David “Tell me about exhaustion.” His friend replied “the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest… the answer to exhaustion is whole-heartedness”.

I have mentioned before in these posts the strange combination of tired and alive that comes out of these meetings. One of the things that sustains this board is the underlying worship that goes with it. We started the Board meeting this past week with more than usual - and we all felt the impact. Share part of it with us by clicking here and on the video link on the right to see (the Reverend Doctor) Susan Ritchie's vespers that preceded Will's recounting of the story above.

1 comment:

Mary Ellen from Napa said...

Thank you for this, I find it incredibly apt.