This week is the home stretch of my co-chair duties of a major fundraiser for my children's school. It's a fancy night out at a country club for us grownups, with drinks, dinner, auction items, community awards to our honorees, and dancing...all for the cause of raising much needed money for the school's endangered programs. I'm not sure I would've ever signed up for such important duties if I was still working, but with getting laid-off in November, the perfect timing and opportunity was hard to deny. Besides giving lots of money, I can't think of a better way to give back to the school then to give of my time...and wow, lots of it!
Being a fundraiser co-chair is high-pressured, all consuming, stressful, demanding, challenging, scary, and overwhelming. This pushes my comfort zone to new limits, tests my patience and character, makes me dig deep to do my very best and beyond, and helps me find out more about myself, both good and bad. I'm forced to draw boundaries and limits, say "no", and give up a lot of my free time.
Am I having fun? Well, I'm not sure yet. Perspective after the fact will probably make for some good writing. In the meantime, I will say some positive things. Like, how my photo project presentation (funny pictures that I took of the students set to music to be played at the fundraiser) makes me proud and I get to be creative and show off my 'stuff'. The two women I'm working closely with (my co-chair and adviser) are amazing and inspiring and I'm better for knowing and learning from them. Tons of good life lessons. The pride of stepping up to the plate for a good, wait...the BEST cause. It's kind of fun being in charge - a new one for me. Friends that step up and not only genuinely offer help, but follow through and do it. Even if we make only $1, I'm better for the experience. But, damn, we better make more than that!
Talk about timing. This past weekend...the WEEKEND BEFORE THIS HUGE FUNDRAISER, I not only hosted the 4th installment of my Rodgers and Hammerstein musical sing-a-long with the ladies ("South Pacific"), but I was also invited to attend Catholic mass (for the first time ever) with a good friend. Now, some people might avoid anything remotely social and away from the fundraiser focus, but for me, detaching and forgetting the fundraiser for a little while is just as important as table assignments and meal choices. I'm certainly no good for the event if I'm found in a fetal position in the corner of a dark room frozen from completely losing my mind. Not. Going. There.
I went from a house full of fantastic ladies with a table full of yummy delicious potluck food and drink with tons of laughs and potty-mouth humor over a less than enjoyable movie but who cares, to a serene and calm church service on the 1st Sunday of Lent with a grateful friend. The service was far from preachy and was instead full of comforting ritual, beautiful song, and Bible verses. The message? Getting by with less and appreciating what we do have, and all the other 'stuff' can be handed over to a higher power where you can find peace.
I left the church feeling calm and peaceful and centered - ready to take on the week. Even though it's not my religion or place of comfort like how my friend feels, the end result is certainly universal no matter what you believe. The fundraiser can make $1 or $100,000, but in my mind it's all about the school and helping the kids and being charitable. I'm glad that I was reminded about that and whatever I get out of it all is an added bonus. While the recent and upcoming education budget cuts are beyond hard to swallow, we are still extremely blessed compared to the rest of the world, where many would be grateful for just a simple bag of rice to feed their family. Kind of puts it all into perspective.