one time hanging out in a bookstore i scanned through the book 10-10-10 by suzy welch. the premise is that we can determine what NEEDS to be done by applying the question of “what are the consequences of this decision in the next 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?” i really do think about that 10-1010 principle (even though i never bought the book. book stores with comfy chairs are like libraries for speed readers). especially when i am faced with making a decision one way or another when both ways seem good and wise and neither is wrong...
so it was interesting to think about that principle 10 years after a major historical event. the florida recount. the village square had a FLORIDA RECOUNT REUNION on tuesday night. and i was there. i was also the official florida recount reunion photographer. whoo hoo. who would have imagined that 10 years ago? not this girl!
and in case you needed to know the panelists from left to right:
Bush attorney Barry Richard
Leon County Election Supervisor Ion Sancho (rocking the beret)
retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Anstead
First District Court of Appeal Judge Nikki Ann Clark
Second Judicial Circuit Judge Terry Lewis
Florida Supreme Court Public Information Officer Craig Waters
and Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga
while each of these VERY VERY important people were telling their stories about their view of the florida recount days, the thing that stuck out to me was how each of them KNEW how very important this whole thing was realized that they had only ONE thing they needed to focus on at that moment. not the press. not the historical significance. not the outcome of the election itself. or who THEY wanted to win the election. not the hanging chads. or the butterfly ballots. or great aunt sally in palm beach. it was a judicial matter in the end. what did our constitution say about this election. and the result. they each had a different job to do. different sets of guidelines and laws. and they each needed to focus SOLELY on the job that was theirs. and kind of to ignore to biggness that was swirling around them. focus on their piece of the puzzle. and each one did that.
if they were a judge... they listened to the case presented to them. just the part that was integral to what they needed to rule on. the part that was THEIR jurisdiction. if they were a communications guy... they communicated what was happening to the press. if they were in charge of elections... what could they do now. not before. not even next time (that would come later). but in this moment. not what they might have felt. not their opinions. but the facts. they did their jobs. they went to bed at night and tried to sleep amidst all the commotion knowing that they had done what was their portion to do. they couldn’t control all the other pieces. they could only do their job.
they were all very good natured. they were all very friendly and told great stories. about how scared they were. how relieved they were when it was over. and how that time period was important because our country faced a constitutional crisis. a huge constitutional crises. and yet, there was no bloodshed. no civil war. the constitution stood. our country “worked” the way it was designed to work. it wasn’t easy. not everyone was happy about the outcome. but it was freedom at its best. gritty. difficult. noisy. and beautiful.
and what they did had certain consequences 10 minutes later. 10 months later. but most importantly 10 years later they can all sit together on one stage. talk. laugh. joke with each other. put their arms around each other and say, “we are americans working together”. not democrats (there were some), not republicans (there were some)... but americans who did their jobs.
one of them noted that it was the last time they remember something happening with so much civility. so little partisanship. sigh. that might be true.
did i have a similar focus to my work? do i do the job that is solely mine to do? i am the only one who is a wife to adam (huge sympathy sigh going out to him here). i am the only mother millie, maxx, and rosalea have (poor kids). i can do many things okay or i can do a few things excellently. these people spoke about “being all there” in the moments that were theirs. one judge ordered jessie jackson out of her courtroom because he incited a commotion and she needed to be able to hear what was going on. she needed to focus on her job. do i have what it takes to order important things out of my life so that i can focus on listening to what i need to listen to? that is what will matter in 10 years. 10 minutes later, i am sure she was on the news for ordering jessie jackson out of her courtroom. 10 months later she wasn’t getting a christmas card from him. but 10 years later, her focus and determination to do her job “no matter what” means that her work was valid and based on her hearing the whole truth.
happy vererans day to those who fought for our freedom. on bloody fields. but also those who fight in courtrooms. and election booths.