This afternoon I had coffee with my friend and colleague Grace. Actually, I think she had the coffee, and I had the worst Italian soda ever - it was bitter as all-heck. Thankfully, the staff was exceptionally generous and patient with my complaint. They replaced my soda with a sweet chai tea, all at no cost.
But the tea is not the main story. Several years ago, Grace facilitated my cohort during the Leadership Development Program at the Community Colleges of Spokane. Likewise, she has been a major supporter of my role in helping to lead this year's Intercultural Leadership Program; however, the purpose of this meeting was to discuss my participation in the upcoming TEDx at CCS. On November 15, I will take the stage for eight minutes and address the world regarding my unique vision and passion.
Actually, I love public speaking, but I hate to plan. Something about writing a speech kills the spirit, or so I said. Grace spoke over my objections in the most gentle and supportive way possible and reminded me of the TED format and rules. I admit to whining during our tea meeting, but Grace re-framed my complaint as "clearing the air" in a way that will allow my creativity to flow. Ultimately, she took my doubts and misgivings and turned them into opportunities for growth. Of course, this is a taste of her leadership style in action.
In the end, I know that I will speak about revitalizing endangered languages and I know I will do a good job. I also know that I will eventually bend to the rules. After all, being selected to speak at TEDx is too great an opportunity to mess up. I only hope that I address the topic in a way that creates value for my fellow language workers.
Grace took me to a place on Main Street called Boot's. I think it used to be the Rocket. But it had a real homey, artsy feel - it was the kind of place that made my inner hippie feel warm and accepted.
The inside of the bathroom doors were basically like chalk boards where people could write affirming messages. Actually, I suppose they could write anything they want, but I was pleased to see that the messages were overwhelming positive. One person wrote, "Spokane rocks! I never knew!" Another person wrote, "God loves you more right now than anyone else ever could in a whole lifetime." Beautiful - and yes, I felt very affirmed.
Afterwards, I thought about rushing home to do my homework, but the sun was too bright and the fall colors were too vibrant on my soul. I could not force myself to get back into my car and literally turn away from warm glow of the Creator's love. I just had to take that moment of communion with nature.
The maple leaves were ablaze
with the golden light of sunset.
The wild roses turned to fruit,
except for this one bloom still clinging
to the last warm days of the year.
St. Aloysius Church reflected in the Spokane River.
Seeing the Gonzaga campus reminded me that I have a paper to write, curriculum to develop, books to read, student papers to grade, and a million other responsibilities to complete. But seeing the church spires and the beautiful colors reminded me that I also need to take time for personal reflection and renewal.
The tree branches over the river
were too important to ignore.
I'm not sure how I feel about the river condos
but the reflection was stunning.
Right before the sun dipped below the horizon, this squirrel stopped for a photograph. Then it suddenly darted away and created a blur across my camera screen. There was something ultimately graceful about the squirrel's movement that reminded me rushing water or a river in its own right.