On Worry, Birds, Lovers on this Last Day of our May Appeal
I've never quite understood why April is the cruelest month, but when I started Beautiful Day I discovered that May is, without question, the worryingest month. It’s not poetic, but the worry is real: every May arrives just as we’re ramping up summer production, starting new trainees, buying new tents and equipment, yet before grants or many donations start coming in. So we usually need help.
I’ve also learned over the years that if I must worry, May isn’t a bad month for it because it’s so beautiful. First there are the cherry blossoms and redbud, the daffodils and tulips, then, just as the vegetable garden goes in, the irises and everything else explodes with color. Not even King Solomon or Duchess Meghan Markle, for that matter, was ever clothed like an iris.
I used to think of anxiety as the fleeting affliction of children. As I get older I’m realizing it’s actually the affliction of older people. The fact that if feels like being a scared child adds embarrassment. I do have my little tool bag of tricks. One is to go searching for some new Chagall wallpaper for my phone. It becomes a little comfort, connected to my smart-phone, that ultimate instrument of worry.
This one has a beautiful bird who neither sows or reaps or writes grants or makes granola or handles HR or IT. She’s openly vulnerable, glorious, somehow protecting or maybe just celebrating the lovers in their red refuge. (Egg? or nest? or—I know I read things into Chagall in part because he was a refugee. I’m taking it as that place of creative safety that so many refugees, and all of us who resonate with their experience, long for in our souls.)
In a way, that nest is part of what we’re trying to build in Beautiful Day in our own small way. But it’s not a fairy tale nest, but an adult one made for adult fear and anxiety—which has never been solved by just retreat or illusion, but by hope, and love, and then getting out of that nest with some agency to live in the real world. That’s part of what a granola shift is all about. (And this is part of what I love so much about Chagall: no irony, no cynicism, just shameless hope, love: Amants et Oiseaux, 1962.)
Today is the last day of our May match appeal. So far we raised about $6000 in our goal to meet the $10,000 match offered by our board. Do you think we can raise $4,000 in a day? I do! (I heard on the news this morning that someone had bought a cryptocat for $145,000. These kinds of stories both exasperate and inspire me. Surely living resettled becoming-American refugees—who are part of our national calling and treasure—are worth more than cryptocats. Clearly there is money out there that needs a place to make a difference.) It also helps me to remember that Beautiful Day is not my work or even my worry. It’s ours. So many of you have been building this organization with us. Part of the gift we offer is not just to the people we help and in the granola we make, but the invitation we make for everyone to do something practical about human displacement. More and more I'm convinced that we all need the present opportunity to be doing something practical about human displacement.
We would, of course, love your support on this last day of our match. You can give online here. Or use the envelope we sent if you received our annual report. Just postmark it today. And if you missed this one you can still give and we’ll have other campaign opportunities in the coming months. The truth is that is we are gearing up for our biggest summer EVER as we prepare to make a quantum leap in growth. We’re nervous, excited, hopeful, trying not to worry, determined. And we know we can’t do any of this by ourselves.
(If you haven't yet just go back one blog entry to read our board match appeal. You can also find the link there to our Annual Report that waxes nostalgic about our first five years. For anyone who has supported us over these last 5 years, we put this together in part so that you can take a moment to savor the journey you made possible.)