I led a deprived childhood-- a tortured existence, if you will. Being cursed with an active mind, a talkative mouth, and a small appetite, I was always the last one at the dinner table... the martyr left alone to stare down the lonely vegetables, like some shoot-out scene in an old Western. Tumble weeds blew through the dining room, silence hung thick in the air, and still that slimy cooked spinach stared back at me with a look that could put a lump in my throat.
I don't know why I didn't just shovel those vegetables down first, or why I didn't disguise them in my mouth along with a bite of meat. I distinctly remember the gagging sensation that came from chugging down spinach with a glassful of milk. It was always long after everyone had left the table, and the memory of the rest of the meal had long since faded from my palette.
I've always been a hopeless procrastinator-- waiting to write papers until the last minute, saving the unsavory To Do's on my list until last, and cramming everything in at the end with a quick "Please, God, let that work". I know that turning a blind eye to the things I don't want to do does not simply make them disappear, but I admit that my first tendency is to stick my head in the sand and pretend everything's fine.
Not to push the metaphor too far, but I have definitely had a lot on my plate this year... and now that the school year is over, and things are winding down, all that is left on that big empty plate, staring back at me like a lump of spinach, is a fate worse than vegetables... Fund Raising.
Let me interject here that I LOVE my job. There really is nothing in the world that I would rather be doing than what I am allowed to do right now. However, there is one part of it that feels a little bit like being stuck at the table at the end of the meal, and that is raising my own funds. Ah, the joys of working for a non-profit.
Really, fund raising isn't that bad. For the most part, it is one of those faith-building, stretching, maturing experiences that I am grateful for, in hindsight. I don't think that I would have the same level of appreciation and gratitude if I simply received a paycheck from a company every month. In a lot of ways, fund raising is similar to the discipline of eating your veggies-- something that seems unattractive at the time, but builds you up over the long haul.
Today, I could feel the siren call of avoidance... and I could tell that Chris felt it too. We would each drift off into our own little distractions, waiting for the other to pull us back into reality and talk about the phone calls that needed to be made, the appointments that needed to be set up, and the money that needed to be raised. It's a humbling, uncomfortable process, and one that's difficult to dive into.
Finally, we took the dog to the park, and huddled together on a bench, hunched against the cold, San Francisco summer wind. After spending some time praying and bolstering each other up, preparing for the task at hand, we came home and gave it a first stab.
Alright, I admit it: we did all the easy things on our Fund Raising To Do list first-- but at least there is a list, and several items were crossed off today. I chose to rejoice in the little accomplishments. And the best part is that the ball is... ever so slowly... in motion.
Ironically, now that I am a "grown-up", and can choose ice cream or veggies for dinner, I [almost always] choose the vegetables. I love them, and I feel so much better when I eat healthy. I don't know if I will ever have those feelings towards fund raising (if I do, please check my temperature), but I'm at least taking steps towards health.