The Epistle of Q — Chapter 154

Next Steps…
Okay, so maybe resigning is not that big a deal to you. You probably haven’t been fired either, though maybe you have experienced having your position terminated due to the organization coming to a close (or being bought out or some such calamity). So let me move on to move positive thoughts. What to we do next? How do we move on when a path we were traveling suddenly disappears? I remember once driving in a rural and remote part of Canada looking for some person or place when the road became a trail and then came to a fence, beyond which there was no visible path, let alone road. Oh the trail did go in both directions along the fence but it didn’t appear to be that frequently used – in fact, some trees and shrubs were beginning to emerge. That day, I simply turned the SUV around and went back to the first intersection and decided on a new direction. (Editor’s note: eventually I did find the road I needed to be on – by the time I did however, time was running out to find the key destination and I’m not sure I ever really got to where I was hoping to find!)
I am not quite as confused this time because the road didn’t peter out – perhaps my energy was shaky but the path was clearly marked. I just realized I wasn’t intent enough to follow it. But in the aftermath, some interesting ramifications have begun:
• I’ve been able to take some time off in the evening, sit back in the old Lazy-Boy in my library and watch a couple of Dodgers’ games on TSN (as opposed to following via’s graphic descriptions)
• Preparations have begun in earnest for a trip to Central Canada that will include attending the Stratford Festival, taking some R&R at a good friend’s cottage in the Hastings’ Highland on a lake I actual had a speed boat on during the latter days of high school, visiting friends, colleagues and family in Ottawa and Greater Montréal areas
• As a way to keep connected to the emerging (and continuing) thinking within the world of ethics, leadership & change, I have been a member of a number of professional associations. Until the resignation, I haven’t really reflected deeply on whether or not any of these still serve the purposes for which I originally joined. While the longest connection has been with the Association of Moral Educators (AME) due to it’s founding coming out of the work by Lawrence Kohlberg and his colleagues, I am finding it more and more drifting into a congregation of psychologists. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, for me it is not as helpful as it once was and I certainly am reluctant to introduce my students to that organization. One very positive thing though is the international nature of its membership.
• In many ways the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum (SEAC) might be the best option for my students, whether they be professional or graduate school in their orientation. This would give them more grounding in the diversity of applications of ethics and the depth of ethical leadership that exists with various disciplines. There is a good cross-section of thoughtful people – age-wise as well as perspective.
• For those moving on into the world of work and having a bent towards leadership roles, the better organization would be the Association for Practical & Professional Ethics (APPE). This group is slowly gaining more business and not-for-profit organizational participation. It seems to be reaching out to younger people which will give it renewed energy. APPE has the benefit of a full-time Executive Director and a permanent office home (at DePauw University in Greenville Indiana). It also hosts the Annual Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl which is an excellent reason for attending its yearly AGM & Conference. It would also be great if we could increase the number of Canadian participants – both as presenters and, eventually as contestants in the Ethics Bowl program.
• I’ve also started to attend a Theology Matters conference. It has more to do with my interest in evolving theological thinking & practice than anything to do with my teaching or the work of my students. I don’t think it would be of much interest to my students (no matter what school or level of studies) nor most of my friends & colleagues.
• For a change of pace, now that the Canada/USA border is becoming less a barrier to civilized travel, contemplation as to when/where I might travel to watch my grandkids perform in public spaces is definitely on my radar. While one Grandson is again studying diligently at the Cronkite School of Broadcasting at ASU, he also is playing hockey and trying out for one of the university’s club teams. If he makes the squad I just may go at some point to watch his team play. Two others are playing in New England – one in Junior, the other in Triple AAA Midget Hockey. These too could be enticing trips; however, only will become more definite once I know their respective schedules. The fourth grandson is too busy in his apprenticeship to play anything more than beer league hockey so I don’t think he will much care if I don’t show up at his rinks – besides I’m hoping he will come out some weekend to try his snowboarding skills at Apex Mountain Resort. And when he does, I hope he brings more of the new beers he has discovered – he has unique tastes that have introduced me to different flavours and styles.
• You already are aware that my writing has not been either prolific or focused these last few months – thus it is that I am now sitting back and reflecting on what time allotments I should make to my writing. I will also have a session with my editor next month to determine whether there even is a constructive path forward. Stay tuned on this theme.
• As erratic as my writing has become, is the degree of my physical fitness (or reasonable facsimiles). I’m not totally sure why the discipline that I instituted a year or so ago has not continued to produced the results that I had anticipated. Methinks that another significant crash course might be necessary this autumn to try once again to get the collective weight reduced closer to the target of 95 kgs. I have the routine in place, including biking which I will report on as we near the end of August; the eating likewise is not outrageous. Life can be fickle at times
• As for the wider world of sport, the CFL thankfully is back. I have already seen games in Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton and BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. Next month I will take in a game at Molson Stadium in Montréal. Not sure how many more I will see at Commonwealth but should get to all of the remaining six at BC Place. In addition I have acquired, along with a close friend, a pair of season’s tix to the local Junior A Hockey Club, the Penticton Vees. That will provide a diversion to normal life here in the Valley. Otherwise it’s the occasional golf game until it will be time to take up skiing once more!!
• The role faith and organized religion might play in my life going forward is somewhat more complicated than a quick reflection might resolve. As you no doubt are aware, since being told that my efforts at assisting the local Presbyterian congregation were neither appreciated nor wanted, I have been resorting to on-line services, usually from Zion Presbyterian in Charlottetown or St. Andrew & St. Paul in Montréal. When I am at the coast, if travel keeps me over a Sunday, I probably will attend Richmond Presbyterian (Rev. Victor Kim, formerly of Grace Church in Calgary is in the pulpit there). About eighteen months ago I decided it might be a good idea to sharpen my theological thinking by attending a conference dealing with such themes. Theology Matters turned out to be an interesting experience and I am leaning towards returning to their conference this autumn. More to follow once I finally make up my mind.
• There are some additional musings that I will address in a subsequent chapter. This includes what to do about good friends suffering attacks: stroke, cardiac, relational, discrimination, and the like. Another area worthy of some conversation is how one deals with unfolding family issues & ideas when the matriarch remains alive and the family itself is far-flung. And then too, as all of us must recognize, as we move into the potential twilight era of our lives, there can be benefits to re-assessing relationships that may not really be friendships even. How vital is it that we like the people that are &/or have been close to us?

I think that is enough reflection for today. Enjoy your weekend. I am certainly looking forward to mine…
As always,