Three days before Hurricane Katrina, I strolled into Steinmart to see if they had something I wanted. I looked through the clothing but found nothing. None of the jewelry tempted me. Wandering into the home accessories department, I found a sign, which said "Never, never give up."
Not realizing that we were facing a Category Five in your Hurricane Hit Parade, I bought the sign and drove home.
The sign interested me because I admire the tenacity of Mr. C. who does not give up. He may pivot to re-assess his focus, he may study the situation looking for a solution but he does not give up. His parents started over from scratch twice in their marriage. The 1947 storm (before hurricanes had names) wiped out their boat repair business. The other start over is family lore and not to be told here. His people just keep going forward.
I feel like quitting this afternoon. One more time, I explained to the powers why the current head of an important governing body group should be given a plaque and a party so he can go home. While the current head is capable in many areas, he is not good with people.
Months ago, when I realized that his behavior was harming those around him, I prayed about the situation and went to see him. I shared my observations about his behavior and the consequences to those around him. He was unmoved and explained that he knew what he was doing. I let time pass until I heard again of an action which hurt someone to the quick. I went to see him again. He was unmoved.
Praying more about the situation and wanting, with all my heart, for this to be worked out, I took an elder with me to speak with the man. The elder agreed with my assessment having witnessed unkind behavior. Time passed. We went to see him again.
Four times, I spoke as gently and clearly as I know how to this man about his bad treatment of others. He was not moved.
I spoke to him in our committee meeting about situations I was spending more and more time trying to fix so that those harmed could regain their dignity and go forward. Nothing changed. At the next meeting, I explained the problem to the committee with the man present.
The larger governing body attempted to intervene as I am not the only person troubled by this situation. Conference calls, emails and meetings took place so that everyone who wished might say how they felt about the man's behavior. I learned that worse things went on that I hadn't known about. I felt heart-broken. Where a few acts of kindness from the man would have turned him into a hero, he stomped on people.
Today, the larger group met with the smaller group to discuss the situation (and two other issues which need to be addressed but cannot be resolved until the man steps down). No one discussed the big elephant. The chair suggested that he would not proceed unless people spoke up. People did not speak up. People who needed to be heard were absent from the meeting.
I spoke up.
I want to give up. I tell myself that I have plenty of things to do and that I have spent hours upon hours since the storm trying to affect change, reconciliation and progress. Nothing I do seems to impact the situation for the better. Nothing.
Mr. C. says for me to let it go. I say I don't like to see meanness without speaking up to change it.
What would you do?