Well, the 8th Caroline Project has come and gone. I don’t think I’ve written an entry for a hundred years…because life has been so full of both good and overwhelming things. (Good: spring break, preparing for and delivering a talk at a women’s conference, lots of family time as well as time with “our people”. Overwhelming: my computer crashed and our plumbing backed up.) Consequently there has been very little time left for things like writing. Such is live and the beauty of an informal blog – breaks are totally okay.
Here’s the scoop on this month’s Caroline Project: A friend needed some money for something. That’s it. There’s really nothing more to it than that.
So instead of any information about an organization, I want to unpack the things we’ve been gleaning from the past 8 months of giving.
It seemed so crazy/weird/dumb in the beginning…what a strange thing we were led to do. It felt pointless even. But now…I never want to stop.
You guys, I cannot even tell you how amazing it has been to know that we will be giving; to know that there is money available, set aside already, with only the intent to be given away. That when we see a need (because they are THERE) we will be able to do something.
I can be so self-focused, you know? When the crap hit the fan last year, one of my reactions was to hide in my bed with the covers pulled up over my face. Definitely there have been times where I did that very thing. But that only works for so long, really. Five year olds don’t raise themselves. Life goes on. And I don’t want to miss out on even one moment of my life because I’m stuck in a place where I’m only able to see how things are not going my way. The beauty in The Caroline Project is that it is constant. It’s a way of life, really. Month after month we are committed to thinking outside of ourselves. In the beginning, it took that accountability, that promise we made to ourselves to do this, in order for us to give…when all we wanted to do was think about ourselves.
I know that we’re in the category of the wealthiest people in the world. If you makeover $50,000 a year, that applies to you as well. That being said, Joel and I are not wealthy people. We have jobs. We get paid. But we are not rolling in the dough, you know? So to add a serious financial donation to our budget every single month for a year seemed downright insane. Like, CRAZY AND DUMB AND COMPLETELY POINTLESS.
But I have to tell you something about that, the financial piece. If we were in the same room, I’d make you lean in just a little closer so you were paying attention. And then I’d lift my hand up to the side of my mouth and I’d whisper: “Here’s the crazy thing: It’s working. Like, financially… It’s working.” It’s as if God is filling in the gaps or something (duh, I’ve only heard 200 sermons in my life about this very topic ). For real, our budget is stretching. Plus, we have had many extra opportunities to earn more money each month. Yes, there have been months where we have had to go without extra stuff so that we can maintain our promise to The Caroline Project (think: sorry friends, we can’t go out to eat with you because we have no extra funds after The Caroline Project). Big whoop. Shouldn’t it be like that sometimes?!? But overall, it hasn’t been like that. More often than not, we’ve kept up our usual lifestyle. We’ve never been big spenders and we’re always pretty budget conscious. But we’ve done things like buy new (new to us) living room furniture and a truck. We’ve gone on our regular small vacations. We’ve done things like eat out and go to movies pretty much the same amount as usual. The point is: I’m surprised that our lifestyle hasn’t really needed to change that much. Like, really surprised. Like, if that’s the case than I ALWAYS want to give more than I think I can give. Because, apparently I CAN give more than I think I can give…
I’m not so naive that I think our small financial contribution really makes any difference in the bottom lines of the organizations and individuals we’ve given to. Not really. No, this is being done for us; to bring us to a different place than when we started. You see, The Caroline Project has created room. Room to grieve. Room to heal. Through it we have been allowed to pause…to take time. We’ve been able to somewhat remove the pressure to have it all figured out. And we’ve been allowed to reassess what we thought we needed to be true, that we could make our own plans, that we had control over the details of our lives…
I think part of why it took me so long to write this post is because I didn’t know what words to use to fully express what The Caroline Project has done for us…and I still don’t. All I can say is…that it’s just really good…