Saturday, December 07, 2013

What I Missed, Why I Missed It ...

This week we will sleep in seven different hotels. We will spend hours in the car driving through all kinds of weather. We will eat food that is available rather than food we want. All of this is just part of the job when you travel for work. People often say that they would love to travel for work and neither Joe or I do anything more than nod - we recognize it's a romantic notion that travelling for work is glamorous. It isn't, it's arduous. Don't get me wrong, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that I have the opportunity to get up in front of people and share my ideas and experiences. I take the responsibility which goes with that very, very, seriously.

But ...

And it's a big but ...

There is a cost to what we do. Last night I missed Vita's annual holiday party. I missed the one opportunity I have in the year to be with hundreds of our staff on a social basis. I have really enjoyed these in the past and as we were driving last night, through snow and roads that were becoming increasingly icy, I would check my watch to make sure I caught the time the party started. I'm not sure anyone noticed but when it was due to begin I closed my eyes and sent warm wishes to those arriving in the cold. I said a prayer that all would be safe there and on their journeys home. It wasn't much, but it was all I could do.

I am fortunate, very fortunate, to have a strong team in my department. They are a group of some of the most talented people I know. They are all thoroughly competent, they are all incredibly kind, they are all, each of them, willing to pick up any slack that's left when I'm away for a period of time. We stay in contact through email and, when necessary, through phone calls - but I know it's not the same. I try to be a support, at a distance, and across time zones, and for the most part, because they are who they are, it works.

Equally I am blessed by having a good solid relationship with the other directors, and ED, who keep me informed and involved over the time that I am away. They both understand and encourage me to continue to travel, and learn and bring back amazing ideas that I get from my experience with others. Learning always flows both ways. It's astonishing to have this level of support.

It was hard, though, last night. Sitting in a hotel eating delivery food and watching television in a hotel missing people that I am honoured to know and even more honoured to work with.

I wasn't there in body.

But I was there in spirit.

I hope that my presence was felt but not missed.

Today we get in the car again, heading to another hotel in another city. I hope what we do, out here, matters. I hope that the keynote I gave yesterday will have made a difference. I hope the work, upcoming, will create better service for those with disabilities.

It's this hope that has me here, in the early morning darkness, thinking about both what I missed and about the honour it is to have the opportunity and support needed to try, in my own small way, to make a difference.


Goria said...

You do make a difference, I always looked forward to your talks for many years at KW habilitation 5 Oaks retreat. You always inspire us who work in the field to do better and of course usually created spirited debate!

clairesmum said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Dave for everything you do! I know it must have been hard missing the Christmas party. I have attended many of those parties and its so nice to see everyone in one space! You are truly doing something thats benefits so many families and individual people including mine.

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thank you for your sacrifices made to share your messages to folks who support people with disabilities. We do not think about what it takes for the speakers at conferences to be there.
My wife, many co-workers and I were at your presentation on Friday and feel re--energized and excited about what we do.
So yes you did make a difference, and I feel bad that I forgot to wear yellow.

Shan said...

I don't think travelling for work is romantic at all! It must be a total drag.

Dave, love the new wintry template.

Anonymous said...

Check out this fabulous video for International Day of Person With Disabilities. If the link doesn't work, just Google "Pro Infirmis Who's Perfect "

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder. You do make a HUGE difference for those who see and hear you. I miss you in Maine and admit to a bit of envy of those who do get to see and hear you. How fortunate your Vita staff are to work with you regularly. Stay safe in your travels. Your new background reminds me of your Ethics in Touch training and the story of the mother concerned about who was in her daughter's life by choice and not just because they were paid to be.