One of the ways researchers have found to combat prejudice and aggression between differing groups of people is to give both groups a common goal that is higher than individual goals and is a benefit to both groups. A common goal should take cooperative efforts on both sides to obtain, put both groups on an equal basis and give equal benefits to both sides. This is known as applying Super Ordinate Goals.
I came across this term while studying for my state licensing board exams that I will be taking in two weeks and felt like I finally had language for why my closest relationships have been a result of working toward a shared goal. In my late teens and early twenties I worked alongside Brett and Emily supporting a Jr. High Youth Group. This was after I had spent a number of years working with Shauna in the Sr. High Youth Group. Then, I managed our church’s coffee shop with Colleen. After I had Lucy, Sarah and I worked in children’s ministry together. In graduate school, I did all my group projects with Hope, Melissa, Courtney and Stacie. And most recently, I have worked alongside Kristin at a chemical dependency treatment center for 3 years. These names don’t just represent co-workers. They are my best of friends.
Working toward a shared goal always gives you something to talk about. It also gives you a lot to do together. And when things go awry, which they inevitably do on any project, you have peers who are there to support one another. And all of that talking, doing and supporting rolls over into non-work life. Though I no longer work directly with many of these friends, we are still talking, doing and supporting each other regularly.
However, if I had to pick one other reason for how I got to be such good friends with everyone I’ve mentioned, I would say there has been an element of play. Because there are many people who I have not listed that I have worked with. We certainly shared a same goal and were working toward the same end. And yet, when the project or job was finished, the relationship was as well.
A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded how play is essential in my relationships when Shauna, Sarah and I had this exchange. Since we live in different time zones, often we have to catch up on schedules and decisions for this shared endeavor through group text messages. And while business is the priority, there has never been a time where we have engaged in a conversation that is about our shared goal, which is higher than our individual goals, where there has not also been the element of individual and shared play. Super Ordinate Goals + Play = Super Extraordinary life.
*A continuation of Shauna’s story which began in Don’t Worry Too Much: Part 1
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not this time around. We were older now, wiser even and far more engaged in our own story together than ever before. Though we had always imagined we would have four children, life took some twists and turns when the youngest of our three older daughters turned two so we decided to hold off on solidifying that dream. We needed the waves of chaos to recede long enough to catch our breath and sort out where we were headed to next. It took us nearly six years of processing life, healing and rebuilding enough to determine that having one more child was indeed the desire of our hearts.
I don’t think I was surprised when the details of this narrative began to reveal that nothing would actually go according to the initial plans I had formulated and held loosely in my own mind. I learned early on that there would be no chance for a home birth given Colorado laws attempting to prevent high risk deliveries from occurring outside of a hospital setting. Having had a caesarean section with our second daughter relegated me to the non-negotiable high risk category. I was still hopeful at that point to at least see my midwife throughout my pregnancy as opposed to the standard OB/GYN Doctor. My last visit with her came shortly after I was diagnosed with placenta previa. I remember her reflecting on the early years of her midwifery work where she assisted countless catholic women who had multiple ceseareans. She was trying to comfort me with her assurance that it was unlikely that my placenta previa was a result of accreta (a condition where the placenta attaches too deeply into the uterine wall and in rare cases attaches to other organs outside of the uterus). This condition was treated like the plague by nearly every medical professional I had conversed with, but she didn’t seem all that concerned. She said in all of those years of working with women who had experienced numerous c-sections she had never once witnessed accreta. I tried really hard to find comfort in her words throughout the remaining 20 weeks of countless appointments, but every ultrasound remained inconclusive. So we simply had to wait. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The doctor responsible for performing the cesarean even said so that very morning. He was a specialist, trained to conduct these types of risky deliveries, and he affirmed what my OB had already indicated – that given the fact that my placenta never migrated up the uterine wall throughout the duration of the pregnancy there was a 25% chance that I had accreta. But he was feeling hopeful that morning and he said so as my three nervous daughters and terrified husband gathered around my hospital bed just before the surgery. He assured us that he was taking extra precautions that morning, however, and had ordered four units of blood to be ready if needed. But he was hopeful and I was prayerful.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I could tell something was wrong. It was taking too long. The stated plan was that once he got in there and was able to inspect my uterus we would know if he’d be able to take the baby out while I was still conscious. We had already been in the operating room for nearly an hour and I hadn’t yet been able to lay eyes on my baby or hear those first precious cries. The doctor was sweating profusely and had quit making small talk. I looked at my mom, not wanting to worry my husband unnecessarily (he had already nearly passed out prior the start of the surgery), and asked her if she could tell what was causing the delay. It was only moments after I made that inquiry, when panic seemed to ensue all around me. Doctors and nurses flooded the room, the temperature rose dramatically and some nurses began furiously trying to adjust the thermostat, someone was calling for another anesthesiologist and then I knew…it wasn’t supposed to be this way. They ushered Brian and my mother out the door and all I could do was release a quick “I love you” in the midst of the chaos just before it all went black.
The next thing I remember was trying desperately to wake up so I could figure out what was going on. I was in a different room and I was hooked up to all sorts of machines making all sorts of noises. Everything was hazy…until I heard her name. Briella. It was the first time I heard her name spoken as an indication that she was really here. My mind was struggling to hold onto the reality that I had delivered my forth child and that she was another precious baby girl. I fought that cloud of darkness with a longing that only a mother can know. I wanted to hold her, to see her, to smell her, to know her. So I fought tirelessly to keep my eyes from closing and there she was before me.
She was real. She was alive. I was breathing through a tube and I didn’t understand why, but she was here. That is all that mattered in those moments that Brian held her up to my face. I stroked her head as best as I could with my own cheek and she began to coo. It was a miracle. She was a miracle. I was a miracle. Maybe it was supposed to be this way.
Time became a strange thing that day. In moments it seemed to stand still, in others it raced right on by. I’m not sure of the passage of time that occurred between those blissful moments of greeting Briella and when Faith and Bailey entered the room, their eyes searching my own for reassurance. The ventilator robbed me of a voice while the drugs continued to cloud my mind. All I could think to do was give them a thumbs up and squeeze each of their hands three times – our code for “I love you.” I later learned that poor Krisalyn was too frightened to enter my hospital room. My poor babies. All four of them.
Eventually the propofol became too much for my tired and traumatized body to resist. It had to have been evening which meant that it had been a full day since I had arrived at 6:30 that morning. I somehow knew that my own mother was in the room, resting in a chair behind me. I felt comfort in her presence as I tried to surrender to that damn tube in my throat. The rhythm of the machines became hypnotic as I drifted to an entirely different state of consciousness. I thought to myself in that moment, “It is finished.” I still wasn’t clear on what had happened and why I was in the ICU but I knew that Briella was safe and that I was still here. It was enough peace of mind to welcome the sleep I knew I needed.
And then the gush came. There is no other way to describe it. It was a warm gush of fluid, spreading upon the bedding beneath my immovable body. But what was it? Hadn’t I already had a baby? So that meant it couldn’t have been my water breaking. And I assumed that since I was in the condition I was in that I must have had the dreaded accreta which would have necessitated a hysterectomy. Was it even possible to be bleeding if I didn’t have a uterus any longer? I couldn’t make any sense of the experience. Perhaps I was hallucinating – God knows I was on enough drugs to make that a likely scenario. But something inside of me knew it wasn’t supposed to be like this.
*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of happenings on the web-o-sphere. So enjoy your coffee while checking out what’s caught our attention.
If you’ve been busy living your life this weekend and avoiding the usual internet news bombardment, then perhaps you haven’t heard many details regarding the latest US mass murder incident. A 22 year old male, son of a Hollywood assistant director, allegedly murdered six people and injured 11 others friday night near UC Santa Barbara. Though there were likely many complex issues leading up to this act of violence, the alleged assailant published a YouTube video prior to the attack that can fittingly be called his Hatred for Women Manifesto. Thus, the internet has been flooded for the past couple of days with women declaring how they have experienced various forms mysogyny while stamping their posts with #YesAllWomen.
It has been a difficult conversation to read on Twitter. It can be overwhelming to read the endless accounts of violation and objectification that women are finding the courage to give voice to in 140 characters or less. It can also be enraging to witness the use of this conversation as a platform for further abuse. But at times, it is also hopeful because of the banding together of men and women all over the world to fight this horrific cultural reality. Please take time this weekend to engage in this conversation. I’ve included just a few of the tweets that stood out to me.
In an effort to model wholeness, or τέλειος as I have written about elsewhere, I am going to describe the opposite and equally compelling mystery of the love I found in Ikea with the extreme contempt I discovered in Costco.
Like so many others, I too have fallen prey to the lure of a big box store full of more-than-mediocre quality items in bulk at discounted prices. Ever since I discovered that Costco sold diapers and formula at nearly half the cost of grocery stores I have made weekly trips there for my goods and sundries. In Colorado, I seemed to time my visits where I experienced the giant warehouse nearly empty and I had free reign to peruse at my leisure. Generally, that time was Friday nights. Karl and I would take the kids and sit them side-by-side in the giant carts and meander our way through the warehouse stocking up on everything from dog food to underwear. And the luxury of also being able to skip making dinner at home and instead dine on hot dogs and pizza slices available in Costco at a cheap rate proved equally satisfying.
However, that scenario has not been the case in Seattle. Whether living in the city proper or overpopulation, I can not for the life of me find a time to shop at Costco when I don’t have to park at the back of the lot and sell my soul for a cart just to get discounted fruits and vegetables and milk. Don’t forget the milk! I have tried arriving the minute they open their doors in the morning. I have also tried going over my lunch hour. I have tried arriving thirty minutes before closing time. I have gone on weekends and weekdays, and even holidays. All this trying has led to no avail. There was one time when it seemed like I would be able to drive my cart down the aisles without being forced into an unhappy charade of bumper carts. It was Black Friday. Since Costco is already discounted and wasn’t offering extreme pricing, the store was only moderately busy. O, how I wish every Friday was Black Friday at Costco.
Alas, that is a dream of time gone by. When hope was high and life worth living. Because the tigers come at night, in the morning, and during the day with their cart’s wheels soft as thunder. And they tear your hope apart and they turn your dream to shame.
Now, I wait in one of ten lanes behind six cars to fill my car with cheap gas. Then I get at least 2,000 of my 10,000 daily steps just by walking from my car to the store’s entrance. Then, I traverse the landscape of bulk specialty items like camping equipment and lawn fertilizer on my way to the back of the store only to realize after I added another 2,000 steps that they no longer sell Tillamook Tilla-Moos. Those slices of happiness were apparently on a month-to-month lease at Costco and have recently been evicted.
Then, I patiently wait outside the dairy room rubbing my hands together preparing to shiver. I am pausing to allow the cul-de-sac refrigerator room to empty, and am cut off by another more aggressive cart driver who wore a coat and didn’t need to warm up first. If men experience road rage behind the wheels of their powerful cars, I am a woman who experiences cart rage behind the wheels of my powerful over-sized Costco shopping cart. I fantasize pushing past the island of seasonal confectionaries and ramming the ankles of the one who cut me off. However, I practice my deep breathing techniques and remain controlled and only think angry, expletive thoughts.
I finish my trip having added an additional 4,000 steps because I forgot to get toilet paper and end up in a check out line with four carts in front of me. Because the line is so long, I am conveniently placed waiting in the snack section and taunted by a giant vat of Milk Duds. I am already going to spend a whole paycheck on only ten items, so, why not add the Milk Duds? I won’t even pretend that they will last until my visit next week. Because really, the only thing that gets me through this ordeal every week is a giant vat of something. Given it’s size and caloric content, it should last a long time, whatever that vat of something is, but given that I am feeding my contempt what it demands – sugar to comatize my anxiety – I confess it may be eaten by the time I drive home. Not really. But only because I don’t even like Milk Duds.
Margot’s story has had a significant impact on others. This was evident through the comments on the blog, social media, and the personal conversations that have taken place since she shared. Through her vulnerability, we have witnessed almost a communal act. The way this new community supported and engaged Margot’s story was beautiful. Even though most of our stories differ from hers, we all seem to have formed a connection through her sharing. A huge thank you to Margot for gifting us with her story.
A Message for Margot;
Your willingness to share has inspired so many. Some you know, but many you don’t. We would love to honor you and highlight just a few of the comments that were made as a result of you sharing. Thank you for inviting us into a portion of your story. Thank you for touching our lives.
- This is amazing! Thank you Margot! I now better understand the friend I want to be to my friends who share your battle! Thank you! -Stefanie
- I love how connected I feel to Margot, even though I have not gone through anything similar. Her story has touched my life. Thank you for sharing it. -Courtney
- Beautiful, she sounds amazing!!!! -Kacey
- It amazes me how close I can feel to someone I don’t know. Thank you Margot for sharing your story, because I felt like you shared mine. I hope I can bless someone like you have blessed me. -Jennifer
- My niece was recently diagnosed with MS and I wish I would have read this long before, and I would have listened more. Thank you for teaching me so much about love. God Bless you. -Beth
- I’m sorry for your diagnosis Margot. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with CIDP. It is a disease similar to MS, but it affects only the peripheral nerves. I currently use a cane. These diseases are very scary, and I will pray that you will be restored to full health. -Abigail
- In tears reading the story of my best friend Margot! She has endured so many hardships in this life, yet has allowed it to make her stronger! She is such a light in my life and such a constant support and encourager! She continues to love others well admits her personal struggles and her wittiness creates infectious laughter whenever you’re in her presence! Love you Margot! Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story! -Olivia
- Inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story! -Heather
- Margot. You are an inspiration to so many people! Thank you for sharing your story. I am so proud if you. -Patty