I confess I’m not good at keeping track of hard copy paperwork of any kind! I once lost a concert ticket and the box office had mercy on me and reissued them. That’s why all my tickets to anything are digital/virtual/pdf/ whatever!
So, that being said, despite my good intentions (and I truly thought I would sell some this time), I lost a pack of chicken bbq tickets. This is the way these fundraisers work in my family:
1. My son comes home with a pack of 15 tickets at $8 each, and tosses them at me, and tells me to sell them.
2. I read the paperwork that says he’s expected to sell these. On the due date we must return the unsold tickets or remit payment for the sold tickets. Any ticket not returned is considered to be sold, so it’s either money or ticket.
3. I look at the tickets, and think, “Well, we’ll buy 4, and that will be family dinner. Plus I think my friends will want some. I can definitely sell 10.”
Then we all promptly forget about said tickets.
4. I misplace the tickets, but don’t realize it until the day before the due date.
5. I panic and search for tickets. This time, I had put them in my purse so I would remember to sell them (yeah, right), and they fell out. I finally found the book of 15 tickets in the car under the driver’s seat.
6. I return all the tickets. I don’t buy any because I’m a little resentful that I didn’t have a choice in this matter to either pay or buy. So I create a lose-lose situation: we get no chicken, only stress, and the organization gets no money from us.
So how does this relate to my field of conflict transformation and mediation?
Accept that what is, is. BBQ Chicken fundraisers are big around these parts. They raise a lot of money and people like them. It just is. There are others who are great at selling tickets and they are a huge successful fundraiser in these parts. The fundraisers are not going to stop, this is an accepted practice, and I’m not good at it. It is what it is. How I respond is up to me.
It is helpful for a person to know themselves in order to respond appropriately. In my case, I resent being “told” what to do and I know I’m not good with paperwork. Since I know this about myself, I can hold myself accountable. Rather than repeat the pattern of ignoring the situation, letting my feelings dictate my behavior, and / or losing the tickets, I have at least three options when confronted with this next time: 1. I can graciously return the tickets and say “no thank you.” 2. I can immediately write a check for my family’s tickets and return the rest. 3. I can try to do better and sell the tickets. Since I know myself, I most likely will choose options 1 or 2.
It is important to get buy-in and not force people into agreements. Many people, like me, do not respond well when they feel forced into something or are expected to go along with something just because someone tells them to do so, even if we want to support the organization/person telling us what to do. Either we feel resentful, or guilty because we aren’t going along, or apathetic. I see this when, in my mediation sessions, both parties desire a relationship or resolution, but one party wants to call the shots and force the other to do something. Even if the desired action is a good idea, the other party will resist. Buy in and empowerment is important.
Resolution: When I receive a pack of chicken bbq tickets, I will simply return it asap and save myself the panic.
I debated whether or not to publish this, so I waited a couple months. (Just fyi.)
On this cloudy April day, I am feeling melancholy. I am in one of those ruminations where I keep thinking about all the ways we human beings cover up our own lives—how when there is pain, or a serious issue, or something that may mean change, we are really good at hiding it. But there are consequences. It’s like covering up an infected, festering wound with a bandage. It looks good, it hides the pus and blood, but it only leads to more sickness and perhaps death. Nice thought, huh?
Here’s a couple reasons why I’m in this funk.
Today I finished watching Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix. In this series, a teenage girl dies of suicide. She leaves behind recordings on cassettes, in which she details 13 reasons / people who led her to her decision. This girl didn’t tell her parents, teachers or counselors what was going on. She just hid her pain instead. After her death, the teenagers who are mentioned on the tapes try hard to keep the truth covered up. Finally, that Band-Aid is “ripped off” as the parents finally get the opportunity to listen to their daughter’s tapes. The end.
Really?? What happened to the rest of the characters? Do the bullies and perpetrators ever make restitution or face real consequences? Do the parents find closure? Do the school personnel deal with the bullying / climate at the school? Or is the Bandaid just put back on? And if it is the latter, who else will despair enough to die?
A well –meaning friend sent me an article about the White House “lighting up blue” for autism awareness. As an autism parent, I only felt disgust. I think this is a bandaid to cover up what is really happening. As I said on my Facebook post, “Lighting up the white house blue means nothing if the policies will negatively affect those who have autism. Just saying.” So go ahead, White House, light it up blue, but are you going to make sure that a Free Appropriate Public Education is in place for those with intellectual disabilities? Are you going to make sure that they have the Medicaid services they need? Or are you going to just be nice and put a lit-up-blue bandaid on to distract the damage that is being proposed?
I admit that, when I get into a funk, everything seems 100 times worse than it probably is. That’s also the danger of the life of someone who is called a “prophet” by her friends. Prophets see things that others don’t see, make connections between seemingly unrelated things and speak the truth about those things. Prophets are not popular when they do that. It’s ripping a bandaid off of a festered wound so it can be treated: messy, stinky, but necessary.
Tomorrow I go to finish my training and receive my certification as a TIIMS (Transitional and Intentional Interim Ministry Specialist). This means that I will go into Christian congregations that are in transition– a major conflict or crisis, loss of a long-term pastor, etc.– and be there short term to help facilitate healing and remove barriers to moving forward. Part of me is very cynical about this. I wonder how many nice “bandaids” I will have to “rip off” in order to get to the root of the “infection” that is making the congregation “sick” and unable to move forward in mission and ministry to their communities. I am fully aware that the congregation will have to follow through with the prescribed course of action. And I am skeptical.
Yet I keep going. I know that I only see in a mirror dimly, but someday I will see clearly. I believe God is up to something good. And so I keep ripping off bandaids so the healing can begin.