Friday, May 7, 2010

The Tiny Life

"The spiritual life is not a life of success; it is a life of faithfulness, and it’s not easy. God knew we would naturally be dazzled by big; that’s why Jesus told the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son…Jesus was trying to tell us something: The spiritual life is a tiny life, filled with little decisions, tiny steps toward God, tiny glimpses of His presence, little changes and small movings, tiny successes and imperceptible stirrings.”—Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

Happy birthday…to us. Eve’s Daughters received its official non-profit status a year ago, the day before Mother’s Day, setting a new land speed record in terms of 1023 approvals. And since that momentous occasion…there’ve been fits and starts, and sometimes just fits, usually thrown by me. There’s been lots of planning, and talking, and listening. There’ve been seemingly 1.7 million emails, and distress calls, complete with head-in-hands. And still, all told, it’s been kinda tiny work. We are still “wobblers”, not even toddlers yet, in a world that’s not always supportive of non-profits, regardless of need.

I smiled when I read Michael Yaconelli’s description above, that God knew we would be dazzled by big. Like the bumper sticker, “Distracted by shiny things,” I find myself thinking there must be something bigger to be had, bigger to be done, bigger just in general, and it makes me lose my focus sometimes.

But then I think of all the tiny decisions: For Cathy to have been listening to hear the name “Eve’s Daughters”, for me to know it was time to join her, for all the planning, for choosing the board members, for writing the background material, for starting the fundraising, for developing the monthly dinners, for every cup of coffee over listening to a woman’s story. Each was a tiny decision to move toward to the vision, closer to the hope, even when everything swirled around us that maybe the whole thing was a mirage, a mistake.

We see changes in the women we serve, seemingly imperceptible at first, and then gaining steam. I've come to learn that tiny steps eventually do add up. So when I’m tempted to think we’re not making a difference (or a difference that anyone could notice), I’ve got to remember to narrow my focus. For someone of my wiring, this doesn’t come naturally or gracefully. But I keep hoping there will come a time when I get the perspective I crave—that it was all supposed to be this way, a little breadcrumb trail to sustain us, living the tiny life in a big, big way.
Birthing a non-profit is not unlike our other births--joyful, messy, scary, overwhelming. But that something tiny that we helped usher into the world--who knows what it will grow into?


kathyk said...

Birth is first and foremost a miracle. Happy to celebrate yours with you!!!

Anonymous said...

well written partner.

Melinda said...

Great analogy of birthing the non-profit.

I'm renewing by commitment as an enthusiastic prayer supporter.

Happy birthday, Eve's Daughters!