Friday, October 23, 2009

10/23 An Ending, A Beginning

Chuck and I attended the Barberton Community Foundation Executive session last night to say our good-byes (position ended in "permanent lay-off" Oct. 21) and to request that the Foundation assume responsibility for the home we bought here. (Moving to Barberton was a condition of Chuck's taking the position here.) I spoke for about 10 minutes and Chuck sat quietly in support of me. At the end, I gave the floor to Chuck and he said, "I have nothing to add to this report. Everything spoken was good," or something along those lines. I don't remember exactly, only that the two sentences were stated perfectly and that, every time I looked at Chuck during my talking, he gave me strength and courage with his steady, loving gaze.

There were around 25 people there and the Barberton Herald reporter. I spoke of the doctor's most recent encouraging response to Chuck's progress. I spoke of my grief in Chuck's behalf because the position and the Barberton community had meant so much to him. We thanked the Foundation for the supports they had put in place over the past 12 weeks and requested they invest in our home either as an offering to a new director or some other purpose that would fit with the Foundation's stated purposes and activities. Of all the unknowns and unsolved parts of our financial puzzle, this home presents one of our biggest challenges as we put our new reality in order. It also represents the significant act of faith and investment Chuck and I placed in this community when we accepted the position.

When we walked in, everyone at the table applauded. After I spoke, almost everyone got up from the table and hugged us or shook our hands and wished us luck and Godspeed. Chuck was pleased with me and, given that this is Chuck's personal loss above all, that's the thing that mattered most.

Today, when Chuck woke up, he said he had a heavy, heavy heart.

We will walk together from here to what is next. I feel a certainty that Chuck will again lead, empower, speak, inspire, raise money and influence in some new capacity. It's what he was born to do.

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