Thursday, December 31, 2009

Burning and Rebuilding Bridges

If email is a good way of burning bridges, direct, honest, two-way communication is the way to rebuild them.

Yesterday, Jill finally called and though a little difficult at first (since we were probably both a little uncomfortable over things said in email) we were able to talk through the problems and come to not just peaceful resolution, but an actual happy one!

Jill informed me that she and her fiance were able to work things out with their new landlord, allowing them not just to bring their own two cats to the new home, but Treasure as well!

This was, of course, amazingly good news as I was fully prepared (though reluctantly) to take Treasure back.

Suddenly the anxiety over having to take back a cat when we are having such difficulties placing adult, "regular" cats was gone. I felt tremendous relief!

Follwing mutual apologies, Jill and I went on to have a very pleasant and friendly conversation catching up on some of the events of the past year. The poor economy had hit Jill and her fiance very hard and was the major reason for the move out of the (expensive) city. Hopefully, the young couple could now catch up to financial challenges and even save a little money.

Unfortunately, its a familiar story over the past couple of years and one of the prime and tragic reasons for animals ending up in shelters or, in some cases being returned to a rescue group.

I assured Jill that if she were to run into any medical or other difficult expenses with Treasure, she had only to call and I would try to help her. But, she seemed pretty confident and optimistic about the future.

After we wished each other well and said good-bye, I considered going back online and deleting the blog entry from yesterday. What if Jill reads this? I wondered.

But, after careful consideration, I decided to leave it.

The purpose of yesterday's journal entry was not just to vent hurt feelings or bad-mouth in judgmental fashion, an individual who had been so reliable and instrumental in saving not just cats, but a number of dogs over the years, but, more importantly, to warn about the dangers of email -- especially when delivering any kind of bad news to another.

There was, of course, the duel purpose of stating the view that rescue groups and shelters should be entitled to the same considerations and respect as other agencies or companies when one has to give up a responsibility or end an association (i.e. "two week notice."). That of course puts aside those emergencies or rare instances of sudden illness or an animal biting someone.

We live in a complex and technological world today. And while there are tremendous advantages and convenience in the instant one-way communications of email or text messages, they should never be used as means of avoiding confrontation or ending a commitment -- That is, unless one wants to burn bridges and bring down in a torrent of bitter feelings on both sides, something that once was good.

In saying this, I refer to both the sender of bad news emails and the recipient who reacts and responds in kind (as I wrongly did).

In some ways, endings are even more important than beginnings in all relationships and associations whether in work or the personal life, as its the endings that create ultimate memory, perception and even attitude towards the future.

As we travel through life we will know many friends, bosses, colleagues, subordinates, partners and/or even romantic lovers.

Things constantly change in a fast paced world and associations end for a myriad of legitimate reasons.

But, its important that when leaving any association to allot proper time to do so in a respectful, honest and fully communicative manner.

Emails and text messages, unfortunately don't allow for that.

They burn, rather than build or leave intact, the bridges so necessary for a complete and happy life.

I am glad Jill finally called yesterday. She showed class and guts in an otherwise difficult situation. We can both leave this association now with memories of all that was good over a span of about seven years.

The bridges remain strong and intact. -- PCA



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