Our lives have been just a bit more adventurous recently than we might have wished. We enjoyed the White Horse Village September Mystery Lunch, on a perfect September day, to a lovely restaurant in Chesapeake City, overlooking the canal. All went well until we prepared to leave – the transmission of the bus refused to engage. The mystery became when and how we would get home. A flurry of phone calls by management failed to produce a charter, so eventually they canceled the normal dinner bus route on campus and sent the smaller buses to collect us. People enjoyed shopping and the local bar, staff brought water and made sure no one needed medication, and we were home by eight. Then Dave – who walks everywhere and enjoys robust good health – experienced hip pain. He got a quick appointment and a script for physical therapy – right here on campus. In the course of the following week our freezer showed odd symptoms, melting the ice cream but keeping everything else solid. The ice cream turned out to be a leading indicator of a totally kaput fridge though it took several visits by maintenance, and eventually the supplier to figure that out. Meanwhile, a loaner fridge just showed up in our garage while we were out shopping, along with a note, and a phone message and finally a visit from Ryan, the maintenance genius. After the final diagnosis, Ryan appeared with a brand-new fridge. Before he left, Ryan dealt with a TV issue.
There are lessons here: first Gratitude. These are first world problems, and the solutions demonstrate a privileged life. We have reliable electricity. There are back-up buses and a supply of loaner fridges for emergencies. The team members at WHV go above and beyond to care for us, and we are appreciative. Tipping is strictly forbidden (for good reasons, and there is a special fund equitably distributed), but I expressed my thanks directly to the staff members and sent messages to their superiors. At this stage of my life, I am limited in what I can do, but I do what I can.
Second, Humility. After much struggling with the refrigerator, it became clear that the new model is just 3/8″ too wide for the space, so the loaner is now in the kitchen until things are resolved. Having the freezer on the top makes it awkward to get things out. We are not entitled to convenience. (Nevertheless, Ryan came by to say the replacement is on order and should arrive in two weeks.)
And third, Compassion. Our relationship with our team members is more than transactional. They take good care of us and we try to make this a good place to work. In community we look after each other.
I hope you read Linda’s presidential message, and take it to heart. WHV and UUFP and the US are all different sorts of communities, but they have much in common. To thrive as individuals and as communities we must act from compassion.