A Successful Failure
In a world full of stats, likes and followers, how do you measure up? Maybe you find yourself in the blessed position of not knowing and/or not caring. In this case, perhaps ignorance is bliss!
I'm just coming off of a fundraising event for Love INC of Albuquerque that was held this last Friday. It was the 2nd annual Spaghetti Western, a dinner/dance event aimed to raise community awareness and funds.
Looking around the room that evening, I saw the young and old, and everyone in between. Joyful conversation took place during the meal, and respectful attention was given when I gave a brief presentation and "ask" during the event. When the dance floor was opened for line dancing, 90% of the room got up to participate.
Smiles, playful jesting and bodies in motion filled the evening as rows of dancers (some better than others) tried to follow instruction and move to the music. From a determined 5 year old, to a dedicated 80+ year old, everyone had a great time.
I stood at the back of the room with my husband to observe the scene. I couldn't help but smile as I watched this assortment of individuals move around in relative symmetry. I had a staff member tell me later that I had been "beaming". I certainly was happy to witness such a fun event where it seemed all were genuinely enjoying themselves.
Once the evening came to a close, we packed up the room and headed home. Too tired to bother with counting donations, I left it for the next morning.
When I sat down to tally up the funds that had come in, I was dismayed by the very few number of envelopes that had been collected. Still hopeful, I began to open them, one by one, to count the contents. There was a donation of $7, then one of $20. A check or two were written with slightly larger amounts. Then, three envelopes that contained a mere single dollar bill. All in all, less than $700 had been raised, and $250 of that came from the staff and board members.
At first I was angry. I felt insulted and demeaned. Did these people not understand how much time and effort was put into this event! I had explained that the $15 ticket price covered the expense of the event and nothing more. Was the work I do, day in and day out, really worth only a dollar?
Then, I cried and felt sorry for myself. After all, we probably could have generated more revenue from a well planned yard sale. Feelings of defeat quickly replaced the sadness. I figured that I must be terrible at my job.
Finally, came peace. I remembered the smiles. I remembered the kind words spoken about how much fun the event was. I read a social media post that reflected on how the Spaghetti Western provided a safe place to go dancing, that wasn't a bar. I remembered that we had been praying for this event for weeks, and the Lord wasn't surprised by anything that transpired. I remembered this isn't about me.
From a fundraising perspective, this event was a failure. To work so hard for so little return is a waste. But was it really?
I don't know what the future will hold, or if we will have this event again. I am however reminded once again about how God's view of success is often much different than my own. I want to only have God's vision, for if I continue to measure myself against the world's standards, I likely will be disappointed every time.
As Ecclesiastes states, there is "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." Apparently for me, these all happen in a 12 hour span.
Solomon concludes Ecclesiastes 3 with this stanza: "So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?" These are good words for me to reflect upon.
For all of my fellow workers out there in the trenches of life, may the work of our hands, directed by the Father, give us all joy as we look to serve Him. Let us do all for His good pleasure.