Tell the story that you need to hear
Gala is coming! This Saturday! Like many nonprofits, every year Plant With Purpose throws an annual fundraising gala. It’s our largest fundraising event all year and it helps bring in a good portion of the funding for our work. It also helps us meet many new people who become interested in supporting our work.
But behind the scenes, here’s what that means:
It’s the busiest week of the year for most of our team.
I’ll probably be working late every night this week.
It’ll all work out and be wonderful in the end, but—
Something unexpected will happen. We’ll be thrown a Clayton Kershaw-esque curveball.
Regarding that last one, I became aware of it last week.
In August, I went to Haiti to work on a video. The footage and stories we gathered were great. My own experience of meeting the people and learning from them was transformational. I poured it into a script for a video to be played at Gala.
Last week, I realized that due to things outside of our control, the video we planned wasn’t gonna be done in time.
The video typically frames the talk Scott gives at the event. It also sets the emotional tone for the evening. I needed to figure something out.
I hopped on my flight from Nashville and pulled open a blank document on my laptop. Time to figure something out.
The theme for Gala is celebrating a “Harvest of Hope.” To be completely honest, I was slow to embrace it. Not wanting to be rude, but it felt generic to me, like $4 calendars sold at CVS with tacky fonts of inspirational quotes and stock photos of orange leaves. I don’t really know why, but maybe it’s because hope is such an overused word?
Like, hope is a great thing, but as a name, it gets used quite a bit. How many churches have ‘hope’ in their name? How many nonprofits? How many campaign slogans? Sometimes, things lose their meaning with overexposure. When I usually heard the word ‘hope’ it felt synonymous with ideas like optimism or wishful thinking. But if hope was a big enough deal to center our Gala around it, I figured it needed to be more substantive.
I started to let my mind drift back to early August. My time in Haiti. Meeting people like Raymond, Dieula, or Gernita.
During the summer, I was in kind of a rough spot. It’s weird saying that because it was a really fun summer in many ways, but it was also discouraging in many others. A few big parts of my life set quite different from how I expected, and I felt really stuck. Like things wouldn’t change.
As I made new Haitian friends, I realized that they’d been there too. Wondering if they’d ever be able to reap what they’ve sown. Wondering if they’d be able to provide enough for their kids. I mean, their circumstances were much more severe than mine, but I recognized what we shared.
I remember a moment spent alone in a Haitian forest when I realized, God was looking out for them during those rough times. He was forging a path towards something better, and Plant With Purpose got to be a part of it. I realized God was smiling on me in a similar way.
Hope wasn’t just simple optimism. It came from my relationship with God. It was about Love, faith, and trust allowing me to take the next necessary steps.
That was a message I needed to hear this summer. I heard it. Now I needed to share it.
I knew what I needed to write. I turned back to the blank document and started typing.
I let hope speak to me.
I’m learning that in my creative life, the thing I need to make is so strongly related to the thing I need to hear. Making something meaningful is a wholehearted process.
Maybe that’s an idea that’ll be helpful for you too. Are you feeling stuck? Start by asking yourself what are those messages you’ve needed to hear. Let them go through you and into the world.
On the plane, I wrote a script that held words I needed all summer.
I’m just now putting the finishing touches on the video and I can’t wait to let it play this weekend. And I’m excited to let you see it...
...next week. I still have to figure out how to export this thing! Stay tuned!