Friday, April 06, 2012

board steps

If there was a 12-step program for joiners, I would be president of Friends of Steve.

It is a long-standing addiction.  If a group forms, I will join.  If someone asks me to serve on a board, I reflexively answer "yes."

When I lived in Oregon, I served on several boards: political, charitable, social, faith-oriented.  And I enjoyed them all.

But I knew, as retirement approached, that I needed to be a bit more frugal with my time.  My volunteer work would grow to occupy what was once the work day.  That was not inevitably a bad thing.  I just had some other things I wanted to do.  Like nothing -- now and then.

Never being a person who does things by half, I went cold turkey.  Well, I went cold turkey by running away to Mexico where the time temptations would be fewer.

Or so I thought.  I immediately joined the English-speaking church in Melaque.  And even taught the odd Bible study.

Last year, a member of the church board approached me and asked if I would be wiling to serve on the board.  I told him I would pray and think about it.  But I had my doubts.

When the official offer came, I accepted.  Admittedly,a bit reluctantly.  If I was going to serve on the board, I wanted to be an active participant.  But I still had quite of bit of traveling in Mexico to do.

After two board meetings, I have concluded it was the right decision.  The church in Melaque has the same type of service commitments that drew me to The Salvation Army.  It serves the spiritual needs of the English-speaking community.  But it also serves the physical needs of the full community.

This board is one of the most diverse I have served on.  The nine member board is made up of men and women; part-time and full-time residents; Canadians and Americans; retired and actively-working; farmers, teachers, businessmen, lawyers, builders.  Mirroring our community in flux.

And they have numerous approaches to living our lives.  That aspect can tear some boards apart.  But because of our respect for one another, we can strongly disagree while keeping the church's purpose in mind.

I am one of those people who love change.  I get a bit impatient whenever I hear: "We tried that once and it didn't work" or "If it's working, why bother it?"  And I am fully aware that my approach can often sound like change for change's sake.

But I think that will not be a problem if I can keep our broader mission in mind.  A week ago,our pastor based his sermon on Philippians 2.  I though ht of our board when he read two verses: "[3] Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves—[4] look out for each other's interests and not just for your own."

It was a good reminder for me.  The church is not about me.  The board is not about me.  Even I should not be about me.

And, if I can keep that in mind, I am going to be a joyous joiner.  With or without the Friends of Steve.


Babsofsanmiguel said...

I think you need to go back to the first name of your blog - you are slowly but surely returning to the life of Oregon, without the working part, don't you think?

Steve Cotton said...

But isn't that true for all of us. No matter where we go, we take the life we have developed along with us. Or, as my mother once said of one of my girl friends: "Just another variation on a theme."

NWexican said...

Ew ouch!!  Leave it to the iron to sharpen the iron, or in this case jello. In this passion week, thank you for the gentle reminder.

Steve Cotton said...

I am getting ready to head out the door for the local Good Friday procession.

Tancho said...

What's next?  Manning a booth on the beach that says "Asistencia Jurídica"
Keep in mind that the hour glass has only an infinite amount of sand in it and you have so many more things to do and places to visit. 
The wise philosopher Testocolines said " Get it all out of your system first" then enjoy your retirement.
If you enjoy it it!

Steve Cotton said...

 When I start organizing Gringos for Castaneda, you will know it is time for an intervention.

Nita said...

I wanted to comment on your previous post. Being a Biology major, I have seen my share of rare critters. I have to say that is a homely critter in the web. Only a mother could love. Don't even know what it is!

Steve Cotton said...

 The identity of the spider completely eluded me.  Fortunately, there were people better-versed than I in the world of webs.

Laurie Matherne said...

I am surprised that I am a minority voice that congratulates you. Community is important. No matter what our work status is, we need things that define our lives and give us purpose. Yesterday, I entertained friends in my home. I enjoyed serving others. As single people, it's far too easy to get wrapped up in our own preoccupations. It's good to remember that we serve a larger purpose in this world other than our own pursuits. Good for you, Steve. 

Steve Cotton said...

 Thanks, Laurie.  I had a spontaneous lunch with friends yesterday.  And I realized how much I miss doing that sort of thing.  It is too easy living my good life in my high-walled garden.

God's Angels over Me Romano said...

Thank you, Steve Cotton, for your very touching post.  You remind me so much of my husband.  A man of God, a man ready to help those in need, whether spiritually, or in body.  It is so inspiring to read messages such as yours.  there are people who naturally convey  a sense of strong moral character.  Not just because of what they say.  You, it seems to me, are one of those people. 
Many blessings to you,   Betsy.   Godsangelsoverme,  

Steve Cotton said...

My pleasure.