Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tales of the Sale and Other Adventures

Let me start by stating that I believe in both Fate and Free Will.  I do not think they are mutually exclusive.  Fate places opportunities, challenges, and situations in your path, but you have the Free Will to determine what to do with them.  That said, there is a young woman and her daughter who were instrumental in helping with the garage sale whom I believe I was clearly fated to meet and maybe vice-versa, because under even slightly different circumstances, we never would have known one another.  We don't live close enough to where we would bump into one another at the grocery store and strike up a conversation (like I did recently with a couple from Altoona who watch Steeler games at the same place I sometimes do), we don't generally do the same activities that would have propelled us together.  Our age groups would not have drawn us in.  Our life experiences are very different.  Yet, clearly, it seems, we were meant to cross paths.  I am glad we did, because this garage sale would have been a larger challenge than it already was without her, that's for absolute certain.  Now I have a new friend in Texas on the near eve of my leaving it.  Ironic.  There's that word again.

First thing to know about the organization I serve, AFED, is that it is populated with all volunteers.  It's not like the Red Cross or even NEDA where there is a core group of paid staffers who, while maybe selfless and committed are nonetheless paid to devote their time and attention to the cause.  Every single one of our small group has a busy life outside of the organization.  One thing all the members have in common is that they are driven.  Take my friend Jenn B who came to it from outside the ED community.  She works full time, is a mother of a pre-schooler, blogs ambitiously, volunteers her time to our group and is literally moving from a suburban neighborhood near mine to a small little country town two days after the garage sale.  While not adding in the moving dynamic, every single member of AFED is similarly time challenged.  The individuals who are in the group who are in recovery share those traits but add to it the constant struggle to stay healthy and on task.  Since I've become involved, a number of young people have flowed through the organization, not able to continue or commit because The Beast - or their version of it - catches them back in its evil paws.  That makes our work important, but frustrating frankly because it's hard to delegate and get things going.  I am sure there are neophyte non-profits all over the country experiencing the same issue.  It's just going to take a little dogged determination to keep it going.  Add to that the fact that a garage sale is not the sexiest of fund raisers.  Art auctions have a better cache.  But, the former is cheaper to pull off than the latter, and both Jenn and I had inventory to feed it, so there you have it.

Let me just say, once again, I have awesome friends.  A young friend from work donated a lot of great items to add to my crap.  Her things were so cute, almost everything actually sold.  She probably single-handedly comprised 50% of our sales.  I am so touched by her generosity.  And a mother of a woman in recovery who has been a steadfast member of the organization donated items, as well as driving up to my far north location from her far south home both Friday night and Saturday morning.  Our attorney, who turns out has a bone infection in her jaw and is on major pain killers, can't eat solid food and looked as though she literally was about to topple over several times brought ice and water to sell, and sat there with us without complaint until, her color a little ashen, she simply could not take the pain anymore.  Jenn spent way more time than she should have given her schedule and the situation on her plate.  Originally planning on helping set up the night before only so she could deal with her own moving issues, she came pre-dawn on Saturday and stayed several hours getting us ready to roll.  But, the award for Getting It Done hands down goes to my new friend and her 8-year old daughter who come from completely outside the ED community.  She gathered donations from other mothers, she brought me two tables to use, she came to set up, she worked the entire sale, put up the directional signs that pulled in the traffic, helped us tear it down and loaded her car with donations, including a group of clothes she'll try and get some additional money for at a resale shop.  She's got a box for the Humane Society.  She worked the crowd, along with her outgoing daughter, was consistently cheerful and energetic where the rest of us were too tired to stand up straight.  We could not, in short, have done this without her.

So, why did she throw all that energy and time into a cause that is not her own?  We talked a little about that.  She has her reasons.  Yet, it still was an amazing thing and I, for one, am extremely grateful.  And I was left to ponder how odd it was that we even met.

Ironically (there it is again!), the stage became set for us to meet the night of the art auction.  And caused some tension between Greg and his brother actually.  Greg's brother first spent time with her that night and declined to come to the auction as a result.  Knowing her now, I think she would have enjoyed at least stopping by, but whatever.  The point is, she came to us through my brother-in-law.  I first met her when she came over during the group birthday celebration in June.  When she got on Facebook to send me a thank you for that day, she noticed that we have a mutual friend, and we became FB buddies by and by.  When she saw the post for the garage sale, she jumped right in with both feet.  (This, my friends, is a story of the power of Facebook.  Other stories have emerged at the same time to illustrate its Dark Side, but that's for another day...)  So, post-garage sale, I'm left to ponder a) what we would have done without her and b) what the larger meaning of our meeting means because I'm sure there was a larger purpose than raising a few hundred bucks for my little group.

No comments:

Post a Comment