Just about every day, I walk or jog the same two mile path in my neighborhood. My little trail takes me around a small little park and playground while winding me up and down several familiar streets. The first half is pretty fun. The scenery changes frequently and there’s always something going on at that park. But the next piece of the journey is a different story. The next piece is long and straight and seems to go on forever. I have to say I don’t like it that much because it always feels like it takes twice as long to get past as it should. It’s pretty much in the middle of my route so I do know that once I get past it, I’m over halfway home. But that’s about its only saving grace. Otherwise, it’s long and boring and a mental test of endurance.
As I chugged along this portion of my route this morning, my mind was going over what I needed to get started on when I got into work. I’ve been working on our application for tax exemption and I knew that needed some corrections. There were some emails that needed answering and a meeting with my dad to go over financials. I had a few grant applications I could work on and of course, I needed to keep promoting Lily’s special fundraising campaign. The activities seemed pretty similar to that path I was walking on. Long, a little boring, and kind of mentally tough to endure.
It’s not that I mind any of the tasks that I am describing above. In fact, I kind of like making numbers come together in budgets and casting my fishing line out for potential donations. That’s not what is making it so mentally challenging. It’s the wait. The long path ahead that doesn’t have any curves or direction changes. I started working full time for Lily’s Pad this August, but my family has been growing this seed for several years now. It felt like big steps when we incorporated last summer and even bigger when we secured our first grant. Then we got a space donated and an architect on board and it felt like we were flying! Kind of like when I’m jogging on my morning route and I get close to that park. There’s always some great characters there to entertain me and distract me from the distance I still have to go. That’s exactly where we were in this project back then. Totally skipping towards our destination with so many things falling into place.
But now I’ve rounded the corner and it’s just a long, quiet street ahead of me. Plans being drawn up and submitted to the City. Contractor discussions and searching for donated materials. Hoping, praying and waiting for money. I know when I get past this phase, the rest of the journey will speed by. There will be so much to see and do. Decisions to make, work to be done. I’ll be turning all of those corners towards the home stretch and it will literally feel like I’m flying again.
For now though, I wait. And I write. I write to tell the story and to document our progress. I write to empty into words the feelings we have as we take this journey. And as I fill up pages, I fill up with hope. Maybe someday someone will read this story and think, “I can help!” Or maybe someone reads this and thinks, “I know a kid with a need for a place like that!” I figure you just never know who might be on the receiving end of the shots we fire into the darkness of the world wide web. I just hope that someday I’ll hit my target.
Don’t worry! I’m not sad or hopeless. I’m not ready to give up or run for the hills. Truth be told, I could change my running path up if that long solid stretch of road was really too much for me to handle. But there’s something so exhilarating about finishing it and rounding that next phase, I’m willing to endure it. And I’m willing and ready to endure this stage here at Lily’s Pad. It’s just that it warrants documenting. This phase of waiting. This test of endurance.
I’ll finish up this blog and I’ll head back to the trenches. I’ll send emails and search for donations. I’ll finish up my application for the IRS. I’ll answer the latest questions from my architect and engineering team. And I’ll wait. And I’ll wonder. Did I just write the words needed to reach the person who has the keys to the next phase? I guess I may never know…but I’m firing the shot nonetheless. Here’s hoping it sticks!
Written by Dawn Garza
-Patiently Waiting Director of Operations for the Future Play Space of Lily’s Pad