One thing I learned years ago with respect to blogging was that if one was not diligent about writing the blog would become stale. Fair to say that waiting one week before writing anything falls into the category of failing to overcome said obstacle.
However, the time has not been spent simply sitting around waiting for inspiration or the next re-run. My wife’s family had their annual beach weekend in which we celebrate her father’s birthday along with incorporating somewhat of a family reunion for the cousins in Orlando. It was an opportunity for me to talk with Lori Newberg who actively shares information regarding what she does to help in the Tampa area. Lori has been very supportive of our efforts and shares a desire both within the home and the community to look for ways to change behavior for the better.
Immediately after the weekend event was over I loaded up the car and headed to Siler City, NC to spend four days with Chris Gandy. I personally love a good road trip and you would be amazed how time flies when you have the CD player loaded full of music. Most of the Toad the Wet Sprocket catalog assumed the role of event soundtrack, appropriate and planned since Wednesday night at Cat’s Cradle will be spent enjoying the band live.
Chris’s house sits off the beaten path for AT&T’s cellular coverage but thankfully his internet is strong so my self-imposed isolation is only partial. I considered the trip not only an opportunity to catch up with my old friend but also to hash out ideas specific to this Change-Can initiative.
It is blissfully quiet in this part of North Carolina. Broken only by the occasional breeze through the trees, cackling of chickens or equine discussions from the barn or local horse field. Vehicles themselves are relative strangers to this stretch or road.
So here we sit on his front porch, partially unfocused by the heat and humidity, but each tapping away at our laptops. Apart from long investigations into philosophy, politics and the dynamics of relationships we have shared laughs thanks to The Onion or personal experiences related to animals and our respective work spaces. Change-Can itself has garnered less time but from a holistic standpoint but I feel the experience itself has offered more clarity than actual documentation.
A big draw for me was to help Chris stain the outside of his work shed. We had to manage the time to do this based on the heat and the sun but as of this writing 2\3’s of it has been completed. I am not sure we will tackle the last part but I accept the need to rest and reflect as opposed to being consistently active.
This includes thinking.
Chris had to drive into Chapel Hill yesterday and I offered to stain on my own. It was during this two plus hours that I found myself both reflecting on Change-Can and not thinking of anything but the brush strokes. Is it possible that change can actually occur through not thinking?
Being completely married to this blog and initiative I still find myself terrified of my own ignorance regarding the scope of effort. For example, when I asked my wife for feedback on adopting a road in Jacksonville, and having mapped out the road in front of our community as the option, she noted that such proximity might cause others to perceive the effort as one for my community only: I had not considered that. It made me wonder what other things I might not be considering and how such things would make Change-Can look foolish and possibly narcissistic.
Furthermore adopting a road requires a collective effort to maintain and I really have enough friends\supporters to help me once a month?
But being overwhelmed by the potential for stumbling or failing is the very thing we are standing against. So while Chris and I penned our needs of tax id, bank account, pay pal button on the blog and adopting a road, there is the personal element that needs to be served. Volunteer and donation opportunities are great but there is the question of feeding the “soul” and building relationships close to home.
I thought about this last sentiment while watching the chickens. Seeking food and a comfortable place to rest appeared paramount if not their only concerns. I then considered my want to help my friend and his shed. I reflected on Chris and his wife Stacey laboring in the kitchen fix a bountiful variety of menu items for myself and their neighbor. Selfish and selfless are two sides of the same coin which compliment each other. While any act may feel good “for me” and may in turn change me, the observation of the act by others resonates. Simply put, it is the art of influencing.
As stated in another post this is nothing new but the hope is that Change-Can is a reminder of that. Call it an accountability group if that fits. Some people go to church. Some people sit on committees. But any venue where ideas are shared in the spirit of improvement can only help but serve the common good: Hopefully creating a world we can respect just a bit more and in turn respect ourselves.
Anytime spent with Chris grants perspective and direction. We will continue to massage Change-Can which hopefully means I will quit speaking of it in the third person (that was an attempt at humor). While not fully penned the vision will remain simple: to invoke behavioral change by offering opportunities to give back and creating a forum in which we can share ideas. More than that it is building relationships, be it casual or lasting.
So we will continue to ask our Facebook friends and those who visit the blog to offer up experiences and opportunities to volunteer, donate or participate in self changing activities. The $1 per Facebook friend drive, though stalled, is not being aborted either but the ability to donate is going to be improved upon (the PayPal button for example) and we do recognize the need to set goals (like buying a goat or 20 pounds of food) rather than have an open-ended “whatever” target.
Still, for those who have given and those who are simply supporting us we thank you.
Chris just returned from the Silk Hope gas station with a diet Dr. Pepper. He then brought me a turkey sandwich. He sits facing me looking beyond the porch as the sound of a car discloses that it is leaving a gravel road.