For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these:
'It might have been!'
--John Greenleaf Whittier
"Child," said Aslan, "did I not explain to you once before that no one is ever told what would have happened?" --C.S. Lewis
I had a brilliant idea for a blog post. It had been gathering momentum for almost a year. Over time, it seemed to be more credible and beautifully connected, like one long ball of yarn. I was more than a little pleased with myself. Today was the day I would unveil it.
And yet, despite the fact that all of the pieces fit into place, I sent out a query to a friend. I think I was expecting complete vindication, a pat on the back, or even a few more bits of evidence that would help prove my point.
I was wrong.
No, I was pretty spectacularly wrong. Everything which I had been carefully assembling over the months was just plain not true. Well, maybe some of the bits and pieces were fact, but the conclusion I had drawn was clearly not.
Wow. I had to stop to breathe a little bit. Even though I thought I was extremely well informed, I hadn't been. The relief I felt that I had taken the time to reach out to someone was immense. The gratitude I felt that I have such a friend who would tell me the truth: more immense.
Lesson learned. It is just way too easy to collect the scraps that you want to hear, or arrange whatever you have to conform to your own point of view. I think that much of the contentiousness and bad behavior we see in Columbia stems from charging ahead with our perfectly crafted world-views while being altogether unwilling to examine fully those inconvenient pieces that won't fit in our personal puzzles.
It is precisely that contentiousness and bad behavior which cause good people on our Village Boards to burn out. It is as though the People Tree is really engaging in some kind of centrifugal action which throws off those who wish to serve. It's a rough ride.
My friend, Bill, who kept me from making a complete fool of myself, and possibly hurting other people's feelings and/or making them angry, is not running again this year for the Oakland Mills Village Board. His blog post at The 53 this week explains why. I do not blame him. But it's a great loss to our village. His experience and abilities will be missed.
So on this Sunday morning I am grateful for good friends, good advice, and good people who serve their communities.