For such a time as this…

By Elaine Shaw, Regional Ombudsman, CO-OP® , Pfizer Inc.
2018 IOA Board Member

It is a loud time in the world, and I am reminded of lines from a poem by Pablo Neruda, “Keeping Quiet.”

…If we were not so single-minded
About keeping our lives moving,
And for once could do nothing,
Perhaps a huge silence
Might interrupt this sadness
Of never understanding ourselves
And of threatening ourselves with death….

I recently returned from a trip to India, spreading the good news about our Ombuds Office with my wonderful colleague, Sophia Qiao. It was not a quiet trip. For those of you who have traveled or lived in India know, India can be a cacophony of traffic horns, streams of exotic language and lilting English. In the midst of this, there is the ubiquitous “namaste;” such a peaceful sound to my yogini ears. It was a full and wearying trip, but I was reminded how people everywhere respond to the peace and calm and safety we offer.Elaine Shaw and Sophia Qiao in India

In this time of political upheaval, rancor and violence, I want to remind you who you are. Who I am. We can be the architects of safety, building a place that is quiet and thoughtful and open to our visitors, allowing them to breathe and relax in the space we’ve created.

“For such a time as this…” perhaps your life experiences and career choices have brought you here, to this very spot in your organization where you can tend to a small (or large) corner of the world and bring some peace.

This is a time for poetry, I think. With poetry, comes hope.

May you be strengthened and cared for in your important work. I’ll end with lines from the poem “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.


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