Friday Essay – What do people typically ask you to help with?

Today’s question comes from

Rhododendron in OctoberTypically people ask me to help organize things and get work done.  Which is fine – I like to organize and I like to see a finished project.  Sometimes I take on too much organizing, often because I am dedicated to the cause.  Sometimes, I become resentful, but upon examination I realize that I do things because I want to.  One of the main reasons I enjoy organizing things – events, groups, programs – is because I love to make space.  I realized quite a long time ago that is what I like to do and I’m pretty good at it.  I don’t like being in charge or at the forefront of projects, though I’ll take the reins if necessary.  What I like best is making space for others to grow and learn and participate and lead.  Which is probably why some of my favourite jobs and volunteer projects have involved facilitating rather than leading, teaching or managing.  What is closest to my heart is rites of passage – those moments and rituals that mark important events and times in our lives.  I think my (that is North American) society misses out on so many of these.  For example, I love to volunteer with the Coming of Age group in my congregation.  This is a group of 10 – 12 year olds who take a year or a few months to engage with themselves as well as their spiritual community in a way that very few young people have the opportunity to do.  My job is often organizing the programming, volunteering to sleep over, lead discussions, etc.  On the surface it may look like I’m doing a lot of work but in reality, I’m making space.  The programming is designed to encourage the participants to reflect deeply about themselves, their beliefs and their place in the world.  The projects and activities that I help organize are designed to encourage the youth to engage with each other, with the world and with their own morals and beliefs.  When I help organize such a program it is always about making space for others to do important work for their own growth and development.  When I work at organizing a show – a burlesque show, a poetry show – however small my part in the organization might be, I am always aware of the audience and the performers.  An artistic performance is all about making space – space for the performers to express what they need to express and space for audience members to feel, grow, think. So, people may think they are asking me to help with the mundane organization and administration involved in projects what they get from me is my love of making space.

What do people ask you to help with?  What do people thank you for?  Does this work feel like your personal mission?

Be Lovely to Each Other,