Monday, July 16, 2018

Laid Down

It is nearly a year since I last wrote this blog but now seems a good time to start again. The title of this post is Quaker terminology for what happens when a piece of work comes to an end. It is laid down and the group or committee which has been carrying it on ceases to exist.

A long-standing committee on which I have served for just over a year and clerked since the beginning of 2018 has just been laid down by the central committee in charge of it. The reason for this is unclear and communication throughout could have been better but the decision has been made and the committee has been wound up. When we realised what was happening the committee wrote a minute and tried to change the central committee's mind as we did not think that our work was at an end, but this was in vain. It appears that an alternative approach is being sought but our committee has been laid down.

Under Quaker discipline of course I accept this decision but I have been wrestling with the way it has made me feel. I cannot help feeling rejected and a failure even though rationally I know that this was not the intention of the central committee.

In my working life I have been made redundant twice and both times I knew it was not my fault. In one instance the redundancy arose from a change of policy and in the other my job was tied to that of someone who the organisation wanted to dismiss. On both occasions I felt shock, rejection and a sense of failure that took a long time to work through.

Is there a difference between a committee or people engaged on a particular piece of work deciding that they have come to a stop and therefore laying themselves or the work down and having that work taken from them or laid down by another body? I think it is obvious that there is a difference. Recognising that an end has been reached is a way of taking control of the situation rather than having a decision imposed - even if the reasons for that decision are valid. I wish that there had been a way of helping our committee to understand and take a greater part in the decision that was made.

It has been hard but writing this post has helped me to continue the process of reconciling myself to the situation as it is. I am taking advantage of the time and space I have been given and welcome the opportunity to go back to my research and writing. I am sure that a way will open if I am attentive to my Inward Teacher. As I lay down one set of responsibilities I am taking up this blog again and hope to write regularly, at least once a month, on Quaker history and other matters that I need to explore in writing.


KM said...

Sorry this happened and I hope the reason for such discernment becomes clear (better late than never). It's a kind of bereavement, so work through the stages! We were talking about this at work the other day where we are going through changes and recognise moving from denial to anger to depression etc. Take care, Phyllis

Tiger said...

Thank for your blog post, Gil.

You speak my mind.

I have also found it hard to trust the process on this occasion. The decision seems to be driven by a desire for clear and simple governance structures when the complexities highlighted by the central committee make it difficult to create such structures as the responsibilities of this part of Quaker work extends beyond the central committee's remit. Our small sub-committee managed to oversee the specific work and highlighted the need for a more forward facing outlook.

I hope a new structure can be found.