The VIEW from Above
From my 9th floor apartment window here in Austin, Texas a breath-taking view of high-rise buildings and construction cranes completely fills the horizon. On a sunny day I see the TX State Capitol reflected in the glass panes of a shorter building, emphasizing how dwarfed it is in comparison to the giants surrounding it. But, when I look down and to the right I view a flat-roofed two-story structure that has occupied most of my time and space for the last two years in this city, Society Headquarters. I see the parking lot with staff coming and going daily on the two shifts that allow work to run Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. CDT. I see crews maintaining our HVAC system, landscape needs, and roofing repairs. The window on my Austin world even lets me see if anyone is walking on the property at night, thanks to well-lit perimeters made possible by an Executive Board vote to purchase security cameras. That’s the view from my window.
The “view from above” at the international level within Society Headquarters is quite different. It’s the view from my standing desk and office computer through the eyes of members. It’s a broader view with no horizontal limits. It’s a view gleaned through mail, postal and electronic, most of the time coming in huge waves that almost knock me down. Rarely do they arrive as a trickle. Replying occupies a good portion of the morning and then again in the evening before leaving the building to walk about forty-four steps back to the apartment building. And, it’s a view that reflects multiple meetings, both face-to- face and virtual, designed to include members in the work and decisions of the Society. This is the old “normal” I’ve lived for almost two years here in Austin. Lately, I’ve witnessed different views from the international level that illustrate how our members are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are “sheltering in place,” new ways to carry on the work of the Society are emerging. Social distancing has replaced our usual face-to-face gatherings. The HQ staff works from home. Zoom and GoToMeeting are the norm. Emails keep rolling in, but phone calls with FaceTime or Google DUO are multiplying, too. Contacting others with messages of care and concern is a top priority with DKG leaders and members. A new, even more “genuine spiritual fellowship” is developing. Members are reaching out and up to international with stories that illustrate how they are addressing their DGK life during a pandemic. Do you have a story to share, an activity that might benefit another member or chapter? This blog is about sharing your view from above the constraints posed by this pandemic. Let me hear from you so that I can share in this weekly blog what I’ve seen/heard from my view here in Austin.