Regional planning, Rick Springfield…more perspective

My dear friend Barb shared her thoughts on yesterday’s blog. Here are her words:

I am more inclined to encourage dialogue that would force examination of our biased perspective out in the open where it looks foolish. I try to get my students to engage, to challenge, to exchange.

I fully agree with that. And I love her for taking the time to sharing.

Yesterday I was reacquainted with the incredible annoyance known as State Route 228 in southern Butler County. The occasion was dinner with great friends then an interesting class- well worth the irritation.

I don’t know the history of PA SR 228 and Interstate 79. I do know that when the two-lane SR228 was designed, there was no plan for insane growth of two communities adjacent to the road. That is very obvious. It’s not important that you know exactly where Cranberry Twp and Seven Fields are located, only that their populations have doubled in the past twenty years, and their median family incomes far exceed the state average. Which equals a lot of stores and service businesses and cars. Imagine the burden such growth puts on a two lane road and the regional planners who work with it. Along much of the corridor, there appears to be no room for the road to expand. There are businesses and homes and schools that would seem reluctant to give up property. And yet, people keep coming, businesses keep building.

So what option do the planners have? Throw up their hands and do nothing? Pretend the unexpected didn’t happen?

I thought about this today while watching Rick Springfield on GMA. Yes, that’s right – “Jessie’s Girl” and “General Hospital”. He was promoting his new book and spoke of how amazing his wife Barbara is. They have been together for 30 years, and, he says, both know they are better together than apart. Still, he admitted, she has pushed through difficulty… his depression, drug use, infidelity. Unexpected. Not part of the original plan.

Life is like that, isn’t it?

We think we are the regional planners for our corner of the world. We think if we build an infrastructure, make a plan for maintenance and growth, life will be smooth.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Why do we ever believe that?

We don’t get to choose what lousy stuff is going to come into our lives. We only get to choose our response. We get to choose whether we see only from our own perspective or are willing to open ourselves to others.

And you are saying, “Hey Beth…tell me something I DON’T know.”

Do we really know? Do we really believe that a new road can’t be built every time something unexpected happens. The current road might need to be widened or rerouted. But, it is not feasible or possible or wise to always start over.

Look at the divorce rate, not only for first marriages, but for second and third. 50%, 67%,74%.

Think about the friends or family member you know who have at least one person to whom they refuse to speak.

Do we really know? Are we really willing to open our minds to the perspective of another, even when that person has hurt us.

Are we really willing to listen to what others say about our point of view? Or do we cling to the two-lane road that is no longer sufficient? Do we throw up our hands and run every time the unexpected happens?

We give up on people so easily, don’t we? Don’t want to hold on through their mess, don’t want to help widen the road because it’s hard and we might get dirty. We refuse to see that we helped make the mess, that reconfiguring and widening the current road will take us to wonderful new places, places a new road would never find.

Valuable lessons from unusual sources like regional planners and Mrs. Rick Springfield.

I am heading to the garage to work on a 4-shelf stand I am building. It doesn’t look like I had planned, but it will work! I am reconfiguring…