by Janis Patterson
An organization I belong to – one I helped found decades ago and one on whose board I now sit – is now seriously discussing the possibility of closing down. Just the mention of such a possibility breaks my heart.
I literally sweated blood for this organization, sometimes staying up all night to get my duties done even though at the time I was single, working both a full time and a part time job and looking after an ill parent. For several years it was touch and go whether it would survive or not, but it did and blossomed into a marvelous group that was widely known and respected. The glory years were great.
But – the old guard who had forged this group stepped down, or retired, or moved, or died, and new people arose to take over the management duties. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? I guess ‘supposed’ is the operative word here. Nobody looks after your baby like you do. Mismanagement, both accidental and perhaps deliberate, and ego wars took their toll, and internecine warfare raised its ugly head. By the time the old guard both caught on to what was causing the slow decline and managed to get into position to halt it, great damage had been done.
And now even though we are in charge once more, we aren’t sure we can reverse it. Even if we do, there is the specter of who can we trust to succeed us? We’re old. We’re tired. We’ve earned our right to simply sit back and enjoy the benefits of that which we created. But into whose hands can we entrust it? During the time of decline membership declined as well, leaving a small and very insignificant field of those who could and would step up.
We can go on this way for a little while. Hopefully we can restore our group to a reasonable facsimile of its old self and even more hopefully that will bring people in of the caliber and dedication that the group deserves. Hopefully. If not, though, we will have no choice but to kill this living and wondrous thing that we imagined and grew instead of letting it die an agonizingly slow death until just two or three of us can still totter to the meetings.
Perhaps I am just being morbid. Perhaps we can revitalize the group and make it stronger and better than before. One can only hope. I am sanguine enough to know that nothing lasts forever… that all things end sometime. But, dear God, please not now. Not now.