Reconciliation on Poverty Bay

Poverty Bay is a quiet elbow of the Puget Sound north of Tacoma. Twelve foot tides leave their mark twice daily. Herons guard the beach with air support from a family of bald eagles. It’s a spiritual place, which is a nice way of saying that for nine months of the year it is overcast and drizzling. But during the 100 Glorious Days, the view across the bay and the islands to the snow capped Olympic range is among the most spectacular on earth.
Last year, Poverty Bay was ringed with $2 million homes–they’re now $1 million homes. Modern inhabitants have gained a small amount of appreciation for the historical name of this popular crabbing hole. Like many American’s most of our net worth was tied up in our home. It was exciting to watch the value of our home double with improvements and 15% annual appreciation. Now the place isn’t worth much more what we owe Bank of America. We’re grateful that we’re not under water like millions of other but certainly appreciate their plight.
When we moved out last August we gave away and sold a third of everything so that we could squeeze into a La Jolla, California townhouse never thinking we’d return. While the market was softening, we certainly didn’t anticipate that the market would collapse. But shortly after we left the layoffs started–Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, Starbucks, Washington Mutual, even Microsoft. No sale means no purchase, so we’re back and unpacking what’s left of our stuff (and it’s raining).
Easter and Passover are celebrations of reconciliation–making all things new. Like billions around the world, we’re coming to terms with a new reality, a massive global adjustment of expectations. CNBC said there are more Wall Street bankers attending church these days. I suspect they’re seeking their own reconciliation, perhaps recalibration, for some re-creation.
On my first day back on Poverty Bay, I have so much to be grateful for–health, a loving wife, two beautiful daughters (now college graduates), and work worth doing. Gratitude seems to be the first step to a life made new daily. Then comes reconciliation–the daily tasks of making things new: teach, heal, care, create.
Did I mention that it’s really green here?
(first appeared on HuffPost)

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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