Sometimes, we have an overwhelming desire to be somewhere else or our life circumstances make it impossible to stay where we are. This week, three organizations/people addressed that need in ways that deserved more than a quick social media share. Therefore, I have chosen to highlight them today.
A Randy Pausch Quote
Every issue of SmartBrief ends with a quote. The featured quote in many of the January 19 issues came from Randy Pausch.
What this quote has to do with “being elsewhere”:
The first time my husband heard “The Last Lecture,” he said “you’ve got to listen to this.” That was a good call. I wouldn’t go on to decide to leave the job I had held for well over a decade for seven more years, but Randy Pausch planted the seed. I listened to the lecture online, bought DVDs of it to share with friends, purchased the book.
As a person who has hesitated far too often to ask “why?” “how?” and “why not?” for fear of being told “no,” “that’s stupid,” or “who exactly do you think you are?,” Randy Pausch’s lecture reminded me that being reluctant to ask the hard and adventurous questions only hurts me and leads to someone else getting to go on the thrilling adventure.
(I also realized while re-watching the video today that Randy is wearing a Disney nametag and (I think) an Imagineering shirt. Now that I have seen the Disney experience as the parent of a participant in the Disney College Program, I love that touch.)
Watch it here. It will be an hour well-spent.
(If you don’t have more than an hour to watch the video, there’s a great ten-minute version here, the last one Randy delivered before his death in 2008.)
Princess Pigtails’ Diary
My friend Shannon recently served as a foster parent for the first time. The Tampa Bay Times published Princess Pigtails’ diary: the first 97 days of a foster mom and the little girl in her care on January 19.
What this story has to do with “being elsewhere”:
“Princess Pigtails (PP)” was three when placed into Shannon’s care as a foster child, and almost four when she was placed back with her biological grandmother. Because I have been so absent from working out at the fitness student Shannon owns, I never met PP, but I felt like I knew her through the stories Shannon shared on social media (many of which comprise the Tampa Bay piece).
For her own protection, PP needed to “be elsewhere,” at least temporarily. As you’ll see from the story, our state’s laws, system and philosophy about what is best for foster children are imperfect at best. The placement may have been temporary, but PP made a permanent difference on many hearts (and I believe the experience may lead to positive changes for other children in foster care). Thank you, Shannon, for taking the risk to love this child even though it split your heart open when she moved on, and thank you PP for being a gift to so many of us.
Editor’s Note: Click here for a Tallahassee Democrat account of Shannon’s time with Princess Pigtails and foster care in general.
Steve Schale’s Ode to Shitholes
My friend Steve Schale published Ode to Shitholes on January 13. Following the President’s apparent reference to countries including Africa as being “shitholes,” this is the best rebuttal I have read.
What this post has to do with “being elsewhere”:
The people who are “elsewhere” (elsewhere from the United States, or from elsewhere and living in the United States but on the verge of being forcibly returned to “elsewhere”) often deal with the life inequities that come with what Steve (and many others) refer to as “the birth draw.”
I am so grateful to have spent time in Guatemala and El Salvador (that’s Guatemala City in the image I shared). It wasn’t long enough (two weeks in total) and it didn’t go deep enough (although I am grateful to have gone, for sure!). Both times, because I was traveling with Unbound, we were treated as royalty (literally …… flower-petal paths, extravagant (for the area) meals, and deference). They were beautiful, educational trips, but we didn’t deserve the deference — if anyone did, it was the people who work so hard to support their families in the face of indescribable difficulties, violence and educational deficits.
What can you do this week to find your own “elsewhere” (if that’s what you need) or to help another person whose “elsewhere” has become untenable?
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.