The Hotter the Fire in the Forge, The Stronger the Steel

Dear Boundless,

I don’t often share much about my personal life, but I thought given the unique situation we all find ourselves in that I would make an exception. 

Tuesday was my wife and my 19th anniversary. Romantic that I am, I decided to take it upon myself to take our dog Charlie for a walk at 6 a.m. We’d hadn’t gotten very far when an unexpected neighbor crossed our path. A skunk. You can imagine the outcome — it stunk. What a magical start to a day that should have been a celebration of love and commitment!

Charlie and I ended up self-quarantined in the garage for most of the morning, while I applied a goop of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap (hope you never have to try it, but if you ever DO get ‘skunked,’ this really works!), which quickly reduced the smell to such a level that I was once again allowed in the house.  

Well, to make a long story short, we eventually got Charlie to a groomer and got most of the remaining stench out. I was able to shower and apply ample amounts of good smelling things to offset my stench. I think I ended up smelling like a French perfume factory built over a sewer.

One thing led to another with calls, conferences, and meetings related to our ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Before I knew it, the day was mostly gone. I finally found myself sitting down to dinner with my wife about 7:30 p.m. I started to apologize to her, but she quickly stopped me. 

“Tough times can either make relationship bonds break or strengthen them,” she said.  

She let me know, in no uncertain terms, that after both of us putting up with each other’s quirks, eccentricities, and casual annoyances, for nearly thirty years — nineteen years of marriage and ten years together before that — the bonds of our commitment would not be stretched by something like a missed anniversary celebration. The roller coaster of ups, downs, disasters, and fireworks of our twenty-nine years together have forged an unbreakable bond, a commitment through thick and thin.  

So, what does this have to do with Boundless? Well, just about everything! We are a family that experiences ups, downs, disasters, and fireworks – for the organization, and between all of us. We are now experiencing the mother-of-all crisis – and yet, we’re still here, and we’re all supporting each other. In fact, I know that we’ll come out of this even stronger than before. Each day, we are discovering new strengths —the strengths in relationships between each other and the strengths of our organization that might not have been present or noticed before.

The fires of this crisis will forge new, stronger bonds and create strengths we didn’t have previously.  

I’m not blowing smoke here. Tough times reveal tough realities. In the coming days and weeks, there will be failures. We’ll discover and experience some of the ugliness of human nature that bubbles up during a crisis. It likely won’t be pretty. But we WILL get through this, and we will be stronger because of it. Boundless is well-positioned to function during the pandemic. We have cash reserves that are set aside for situations just like this. To help put any concerns regarding our financial situation to bed, I have asked Anthony Hartley, our new vice president of finance, to put together a brief summary that we can share with you on Tuesday.

Thanks for reading my story – I hope it helps some. I hope you’ll keep checking iamboundless.org/BoundlessTeams for more information, including our pandemic response plan. I also hope that you’ll never have to come face-to-face with a skunk. It’s the worst smell I ever experienced.

Patrick Maynard, PhD
President/CEO
I Am Boundless, Inc.