Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Mediator's Perspective: Taking Time Out

I had a tough week this week. I presided over two particularly challenging and emotional disputes: issues of betrayal, interpersonal trust and respect, dashed hopes, lost profits, desperate measures and counsel who were not always in control of the perspective they needed to help resolve the conflict.

As we do on most weekends during summer, yesterday, we took our sailboat, "Time Out" out to sea for several hours with old friends for several hours. Watching the extraordinary surf hit the beaches of Southern California was so much the medicine I needed, that we ended up staying the night in the Marina.

When I arrived home this morning, my sons told me of the news of Lily Burk's apparent murder on Skid Row at age 17. Our children attended the same School as Lily. Her mom is a lawyer and adjunct faculty at a local law school. The news was nothing less than shocking, deeply disturbing and all too close. Though we didn't know her or her family, at a memorial service for a classmate's Dad today, I spoke with one of the teachers from Oakwood, who expressed his profound grief and loss. Seeing Mickey Morgan that profoundly lost, I'm imagining that this event will forever change the Oakwood community: it will take a long time to restore that hope and optimism that gives the school that "anything is possible" attitude. Simply stated, it made my "tough week" seem trivial by contrast. Even mediator's need lessons in perspective taking, and I'm so sorry that it took this horrible tragedy to wake me up this week.

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