Friday, October 16, 2015


Outside my hotel room window stands two maple trees which have been set ablaze by the season. They are surrounded by golds and greens and burgundies. I've been sitting, fingers on keyboard waiting to start tapping out the letters which will lead to a blog, looking out at the beauty of the Poconos for a really long time. Right now the world looks beautiful, and peaceful and serene. I need this.

A couple of days ago I was part of a panel that presented on the issue of abuse of people with disabilities within systems. The focus of the presentation was abuse prevention and how to create organizations that are safer for people with disabilities to live in. It was a resource rich presentation, binders full of information were given out, Four presenters, including myself, had three and a half hours to take people through approaches and strategies that are necessary for people to feel, and be, safe when receiving service.

I was pleased and proud to be part of the presentation. I admire my co-presenters and their passion. I was glad that the conference accepted the proposal for a pre-conference. I believe in the subject matter and it's ultimate importance.

Safety is the most important thing we do.

But I find these presentations, more than any others, wildly exhausting. We are talking about abuse, we are talking about the importance of safety. We are talking about people's lives. We are talking about hurt. We are talking about trust and trust violated. We are talking about things that matter deeply to me for deeply personal reasons.

I rushed from that presentation to another presentation without time to process what had happened and to take care of, forgive what will sound like melodrama, the 'wounded me.'

From the next presentation I rushed here, to this hotel, surrounded by trees impossibly beautiful. And I realized that I needed this beauty. I needed the world to look safe and serene.

Safety is the most important thing we do.

And it, like fall, will make the world beautiful.


clairesmum said...

I understand completely. It's not self pity, it's the very real acknowledgement of what it is like to 'see' how abuse happens and struggle to create systems that promote safety. That's hard to do, as evidenced by the ways that most people just refuse to admit the horrific misuse of power that is involved in abuse, or insist that the events were 'misinterpreted' or 'blown out of proportion.'
Thanks and praise to all on the panel who are working to make this huge cultural shift, and to all the conference attendees.
You do hard work, Dave. It's human to be tired. and Mother Nature can be very restorative.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

It is hard work that you do - emotionally hard. I'm glad you found that peaceful moment of beauty to replenish your soul. And I'm grateful that you and your colleagues continue to do that work. Sometimes it seems like we have so far to go until people are safe when receiving services. But we will never get there if no one does this work.


Anonymous said...

You do amazing work Dave. Glad that you find moments to refresh.