Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Counting sheep or being led?

Two crap nights in a row and I am beat. One, I laid half awake waiting for the phone since my dad had been hospitalized and sent home. The other, stressing over BIG changes in the non profit I run. Neither worth losing sleep over, except, alone at night, everything seems ominous. I even tried praying the 23rd Psalm and, eventually, my eyes closed.

This cluster of pain-inducing experiences makes me so much more appreciative of the drugs, even with the nasty side effects, that do help me sleep through, deeply resting my muscles. I am a different person after that sort of night.

This morning things don't seem as bleak, yet I am concerned. I had a three-hour conversation with a potential, new board member for Artsy Fartsy Saturdays. He's got the experience, passion and know-how, but boy did he throw me for a loop. I hadn't overly prepared, thinking it was just a conversion to see how we warmed to each other.

Our connection was quite serendipitous. I'd signed up and attended several weeks of ArtsWave training for arts organizations in building boards, then participated in an evening of speed dating with candidates desiring board positions. It was exhilarating and energizing. However, we elicited no candidates. Mostly, ArtsWave believed, because of our location away from the city center. A few weeks later, an e-mail titled "Guess what?" arrived, noting a professional with board experience and similar training was looking for a match with an arts organization. The bonus, he lives in Milford!

We communicated via e-mail and set a meeting date. Yesterday in my cold studio, since one of the boilers blew. Even his last name seem fortuitous: deJesus. I liked him immediately. Though a financial guy, he's also a guitarist and once had a job buying art. He's got three teenaged girls, so we have a lot in common. He wasn't scared away that we don't, exactly, have a board or our official, IRS-decreed, non-profit status yet. He'd recently been a part of a longtime organization that was doomed. I mentioned the irony and he perked up.

He told me that I had been at the top of the stack handed him by Artwave. Wow, I thought for a moment. Well, he confirmed, they were alphabetized. Still, I know ArtsWave was looking out for me.

We quickly cut through the clutter and focused on finances, which, after all, is the main purpose of a board – or so I learned at ArtsWave. After a beamingly successful December event and the usual family December events, I was tired. My Quaker care committee had advised taking some time off, January. So did the local, Milford church that wants to become involved. My potential board member didn't now how that was possible: "this is when you have to plan for the rest of the year."

He's right. He was right on a lot of counts, the counts I don't enjoy or have the time to do properly: a business case, balance sheets, income and expense reports. We repeatedly broached these subjects and he asked more than once whether I could remain under my Quaker Meeting's nonprofit umbrella. I am quite certain that I can not. Hearing this, he wanted to be certain that I understood that adopting non-profit status would put the board in charge. "It's a corporation, just like a business."

Of course, on some level, I understand and accept that. But I think it's also the crux of why I have been dragging my feet. "What about ministry and being Spirit-led?" I wonder. Can that be balanced with the financial aspects by a board overseeing my vision? I know that I am going to have to get over the my part. Won't belong to be anymore or at least, not in the same manner.

This is, however, the path to financial sustainability.

The question I hold is, is this the path toward God and what she wants?

Please hold this in prayer for me as I wrangle my way through, hopefully not losing any more sleep.

• What types of things keep me up at night, worrying?
• Can I turn them over to God?
• How?
• How do I balance everyday reality with a spiritual life?
• What message does the 23rd Psalm have for me?

Psalm 23 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Lord Is My Shepherd

A Psalm of David.

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
    for his name's sake.
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
            Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
                                        all the days of my life,
            and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

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