A friend with special needs daughters wrote on her Facebook page: “Had every intention of making Chicken Picatta and risotto for dinner. Meeting ran late. Got home to find a bird in the house. Opened door for bird, dog ran out. Pizza it was.”
I replied: “Pizza happens.”
In fact, life happens. It happens all the time. Especially when you think that you have it figured out and planned and it’s all going to be okay. And then life happens and shakes everything up. And sometimes that shakeup is the last thing you need and the best thing ever all at the same time.
Life happened to me this week. I was derailed from what felt like a fairly smooth sailing ship. I have fantastic instructors who are capable and talented and motivated. I have volunteers who show up when they said they will. My desk is closer to under control than I can ever remember it. Our online lesson and volunteer system is being used by folks to seriously streamline operations. My email inbox is down to less than 70 emails (from a usual 120 or so). I have parts and pieces of grant applications that will fold together neatly so that I could ship a record number of grant requests off in the next 90 days. Our major fundraising event has been postponed so that we could all work as a team to pull off something special without the round the clock panic that fundraising events tend to engage.
A new friend walks in. A friend that’s high profile work validates the uphill battles we have waged over the last eight years. A friend with similar ideas and parallels in philosophy, horsemanship, sense of humor and energy. His work is just different enough from ours to give him perspective to see strengths where I thought we needed work and to find holes in things we were sure were completely sound. We began with a pact to be kind to one another, no matter what then we start swap stories and inspirations. And ideas start to fly. Notions I thought I had managed were challenged head-on and I had harder questions to answer than “when is the next board meeting.” I was asked point blank:
- “How do you create an environment that is in better service to your kids and your horses?”
- “What are YOUR dreams?
- “What do you see yourself doing next year and what are you doing this week to attain that?”
- “No, not your dreams for Square Peg, for your staff and volunteers, what are YOUR dreams?”
- “Not your nightmares, your dreams!”
All the while, as my eye is drawn off the ball of the day to day running of Square Peg, shit starts hitting the proverbial fan. Staff needs support and leadership, animals need tending to, calls, emails and texts get pushed aside and weather and mud and bills roll in. Two years ago I would have panicked. I would have chucked off the new ideas and the time and space to dream our way into the ever changing future. Instead, I breathed and smiled and rejoiced in how good collaboration creates true synergy. Instead of trying to fix that which is simply the nature of growth, I stepped back and watched growing (however painful) happen. I put trust in the abilities of others and I was hopeful, but also prepared to be wrong.
In the middle of all of this, a wonderful supporter handed me a generous check. I stuffed it in my pocket with a couple of food
wrappers that I’d acquired as I ran hither and yon to fulfill an insane schedule. And early this morning, I found my dog eating the wrappers and the check through a hole he’d made in the pocket of the clothes that I’d left on the floor as I’d slipped into bed exhausted the night before.
Even a year ago, I would have cried and implored the gods to explain to me why they kept testing me with such fervor. Today, as I crawled out of bed at 3:30am on the crazy journey that is my life, I giggled about the phone conversation I am bound to have today with this amazing donor to explain that the dog really did eat the donation check and I will have to ask her as politely and delicately as I can to write me another check.
In short, I ordered pizza, and it was good.