CEO Message — November 2021

We’ve all been there

scott peters headshotYou’re sitting around with a good glass of wine, or a beer, or an ice cream cone or whatever, enjoying a casual conversation with good friends, and the conversation becomes a discussion, and the discussion becomes a disagreement, and the disagreement becomes an argument, and the argument becomes a…well, you know where it’s going. And you know where it’s going because you’re there. We’re all there. Right now.

I have a friend who, when faced with this dead-end scenario, would always say, “Hey! We’re all a little tired and a little grumpy…” and that was our signal to just take a deep breath and a step back.

I use this space to bring you up to date on the latest developments at Columbia REA. We talk about rates and reliability, hydropower and EVs, the future of your co-op, and too often lately, COVID, COVID, and more COVID.

Well, guess what. I am taking a step back.

Last month, I went fishing in Montana. It was a fantastic week. There were only two things missing: cell service and fish...not the worst deal I’ve ever made. During my time on the water not catching fish, I thought about a lot of things, including where we are, emotionally, as a community, society, nation, world.

It’s unsustainable, emotionally.

Someday, things will be normal again. But what about us? How do we become normal again...not so angry? Whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness, blame – the list goes on – we are all feeling a little tired and a little grumpy over the events of the last 18 months or so, myself included. So, what is the solution? I don’t have all the answers, but I would like to suggest a starting point: Kindness.

We are always going to disagree with each other. We aren’t all the same, thank goodness. But we can disagree with kindness, understanding, compassion. The world stops turning only when we stop listening. And the first act of kindness is to listen to one another, see one another, connect to each other.

A friend shared this poem the other day, called Small Kindnesses. This is just part of it, and it feels like a good place to start.

We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot, and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder, and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass. We have so little of each other, now. So far from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange. What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here, have my seat,” “Go ahead— you first,” “I like your hat.”

Be safe, stay healthy.

Scott Peters, CEO