Presidents Column

 Joan Thate 7-2017

                  Joan Thate

  PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE—    No Answers Here, Only Good Questions

As I write today, I have just come from this month’s meeting of my Soul Matters small group— five women at different places in their lives, all working to meet the challenges each is facing.  Each woman is struggling with how those challenges tug her in many directions, forcing sometimes real ethical dilemmas:  Am I doing the right thing here?  Am I self-justifying?  Am I keeping my own needs balanced with the needs of those close around me?  And what, if anything, is it possible to do about problems of the wider society?  The world? 

Our Soul Matters subject for the month is hospitality, a word that expands to include questions way beyond inviting people to our homes or into our inner circle.  The idea of hospitality forces us to face where we are open to “the other” as we individually define that term.  It raises important questions about unnecessary and necessary boundaries.  It raises questions of propriety, of trust.  It asks us to recognize psychological manipulation and how to deal with those who can become emotional cannibals— no small subject. 

Each month our broad topic asks us to examine how community, or personal histories, or risk or hope affect our own lives at this moment in time. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it is always valuable.  Also, I can only speak for my experience with the four people I have come to know as partners in this endeavor, each person makes me think more profoundly about the subject. Those people in my group are Chelsea Bottinelli, Betsey Fales, Susan Garrison, and Margie Hendra.  I am grateful to each one of them for what they have taught me. No one is asked to share what they do not wish to share and all are asked not to offer advice or “the answer.”

I am also grateful to Pastor Kathy for bringing this concept to us.  These are not self-help therapy groups, but they do become self-growth groups. 

I’d hate to see us ever believe that we no longer need to grow.  I foolishly thought as a child that I would reach a state of being called “adulthood” when I had it all figured out.  I have finally learned that this state includes knowing that we haven’t made it there yet, so we have to keep working at it.                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                            --Joan Thate