Enough to go around


So, I was planning all this week to post a very cool and thoughtful reflection about presenting a seminar at the World Bank about Memphis’ experience as developing community and, of course, how our mapping, aligning and animation of religious health assets is showing such promise. Would that not have been very impressive? Well, it turns out that Washington DC needs a bit of development. About 15 minutes from landing in the heavy snow our plane headed back up above the clouds because the ground radar was broken. Flying cowboy that he was, he insisted that he didn’t mind landing into that twisty little runway by the Potomac in the driving snow, but they wouldn’t let him try it without ground radar. Kudos to whoever decided that!

So instead of a picture of me at the World Bank, I give you a picture of the little train that shuttles back and forth in the Detroit airport, which is where they send you, apparently, when you have tried and failed to land in DC.

Delta handled the deluge of frustrated passengers with calm competence. And the hundreds of frustrated passengers were pretty calm themselves, actually. I did think some of those in the ‘privileged” line would pop a gut when two people in wheelchairs turned out to be even more privileged than they.

I found my way back to Memphis on an early morning flight in time reflecting on how it was that there are people in Detroit standing by, prepared and ready for such a deluge in the middle of the night. Where do they keep all the stuff that turns out to be needed on sudden notice? What would all those people have done with their time, if we had not dropped from the sky?

And I thought about the fact that even in our tightened times, there is slack in the system when needed. And there is actually slack in other systems, too. About 10% of our patients at Methodist pay nothing these days and yet we find a way to cover it and keep going, still making money ourselves. There is enough to go around.


The last picture is another one from the soon-to-emerge Center of Excellence. This one is soon to be where Ruthie will sit in the reception area welcoming families, clergy, and zillions of volunteer care-givers to be trained. And a lot of other kinds of smart people ready to blend their intelligences to create the social innovations we need in Memphis. There is enough for us to work with. Way more than enough.

– Posted on the journey

About garygunderson

Vice President, Faith Health, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Author, Leading Causes of Life, Deeply Woven Roots, Boundary Leaders and Religion and the Heath of the Public. Secretary, Stakeholder Health (Health Systems Learning Group).
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