A Yardstick and a Wish

Yesterday was quite an interesting look at human beings, including myself. I realized this very clearly -- we have varying degrees of outrage about the bad behavior of other people, and there is no consensus on what accountability should look like. 

I know my own strong sense of social justice, and that innate drive to do something when outrageous behavior threatens individual and community welfare. What I perhaps did not realize is that sometimes what looks like do something to me looks outrageous to others, no matter how measured and thoughtful I believe the action to be. I think that reflects differences, and is not a matter of right or wrong.

As a small child, I lived the Free Speech movement in Berkeley. My own small children protested apathied with me on the UC Berkeley campus where I was a student.

In spite of having five children of their own, my parents took in over two dozen racially diverse foster babies (not all at once!). These babies were nurtured and loved while we learned important lessons about race and ethnicity, about compassion, about service.

My father volunteered at the Oakland YMCA each Sunday afternoon. My mother was involved in the Women's Liberation Movement -- can you even believe that was a thing?! My grandfather was a professor at Berkeley; his students were constantly in and out of our lives. My great-grandfather was a Board Member for the very first child welfare agency in the US! I could go on and on.

You see -- in my family, other people are our business. It would be wrong to see someone in need and walk away, or to see an injustice and ignore it. In my world, the sin is doing nothing.

But maybe you did not come from a socially active family. Maybe your family taught you to mind your own business. That is your yardstick. Mine is different. And that is okay.

This photo conveys my wish for all us -- that our differences, while not always understood, do not keep us apart.

Today Zoey starts chemotherapy for Lymphoma. It feels so strange because she has no obvious symptoms. It is like we are about to commence chemotherapy on a healthy dog...

It is unnerving in a way -- the idea that side effects may well be worse than how she presently feels :( Very early diagnosis is good but not without some burden.

7 comments

by Kathy L on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 06:50

My thoughts are with Zoey today. I'm hoping she responds Just as well as Joy did, with immediate remission and very few and minor side effects to the chemo. Sending lots of love. She has a look in this picture that reminds me so much of Ava. Such a beautiful girl!

by Kay on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 07:52

This is where it's best to keep your eyes on the prize, an extension to Zoey's life. She deserves it. Good luck!

by Marg on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 08:36

A friend on your left and a friend on your right Viva la compagnie. In love and good Fellowship let us unite Viva La company.

by Chris Heggem on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:45

Thinking about you and Zoey. These dogs of yours... they bring me so much happiness and so much worry! Thank you for posting and sharing through it all. Love to all of you.

by CA Heidi on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:36

My mom teaches public school, as does my sister, and my niece, my husband is a police officer and has been most of his life, and from 1999 until recently, I worked in ERs, ICUs and the laboratory of county hospitals. People are also our business. I pull over at all accidents, pick up lost dogs, help neighbors in need . . . there is so much joy in service. And to be honest, I feel so much better when I am doing something about a problem. It helps make it more manageable and less scary if I can in some way be part of a solution.

My last job was to supervise the lab at our county hospital. I never realized until I got into administration how much politics would influence really everything that I did. I was on committees, in groups, went to trainings, and generally spent much of my days in negotiation. Our lab had a 12 million dollar budget, and I was always having to account for those dollars, to justify expenses, and sometimes despite that large number, figure out where to cut, what could stretch, and how to make do. Employees wanted more people and more hours. Admin wanted less. The State had minimum staffing requirements . . . it goes on and on. In the beginning, I was enthusiastic, full of vigor, with a belly full of fire. HERE is where I could advocate for my employees, the patients who were lost in the gap between not enough coverage and huge bills, and for science itself, getting new and exciting equipment to make us up-to-date and the best for our patients.

I learned quickly that I had to tone it down. My mom has loved to say these things to me all my life: "you may win the battle, but lose the war," and (the hated) "Don't use a canon where a popgun would suffice." Maddening -- she was right. Ugh. I had to figure out different ways to get what I needed. I did not AT ALL give up, but I got a crash course in the art and subtlety of diplomacy. I am a strong personality, and it is easy for me to overwhelm people -- but that may get me what I want, temporarily, but not what I need for the long term, which was alliances. Because then when the times came where I needed to advocate with a strong voice, I was not alone, but part of a chorus of people ready to stand with me.

It's a fine line, and not everyone will draw it the same way. I can't stand bullying, and I did read what was said on the other person's page. It came across as it was meant to, as an accusation that two people I know are dishonest and are not adhering to the rules. My sense of justice flew up like a flag -- that does not feel like it would be true for the people I know, that she is calling out. Plus, is Facebook the right forum? Where are the facts?

I understand wanting to explain, and to show bullying for what it is. I can also understand the position advocated by some that this should be a private matter, and that one person's bad behavior does not mean everything can and should be public, because not all who weigh in do so to be helpful. I can't say what I would do because it has not happened to me, and I think the final say belongs to the injured parties. I just know that this situation is sad, and above all, I wish none of it had happened. But, "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride," (my mom again) and that wish is an impossible one. Now, I think we need to focus on cleaning up the mess, and that means involving people from the clubs who are the right people to make some decisions. In the meantime, I send lots of love and support, to the involved, and especially to Zoey, who we can all agree, is a superstar. <3

~H

by Joanna on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:44

I have been a social worker for the last 43 years. My father brought people home and not animals. Whoever he felt needed help or company. I have been concerned with others since I was a small child because that was the example from my family members, not just my dad. My Aunt had a small cafe and fed many people in her small town, on their "tab". She raised 10 children alone, after my uncle died when the youngest twins were five. She told me that she would have never been able to feed her children without her cafe. No one got into trouble and nine out of ten are college graduates, one with their masters and one PHD. My grandfather taught my dad to give and to care. It is a family tradition.
I pray that Zoey's treatment does no harm and is totally successful!

by Terri and Peaches on Tue, 05/16/2017 - 17:15

We send our thoughts and wishes for a least problematic round of chemo and a very long remission for beautiful Zoey.

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