Lately, my rent has been going up. And spare time? What's that?
In the form of volunteer leadership in the nonprofit community organization to which my church belongs, my "rent" has risen over the past two years to take up a good half of my working hours. The meetings I bemoan are, for the most part, occasioned by my membership in no less than six task forces, collaboratives, teams, committees and subcommittees related to the work of this organization. I am up late, and up again early most days, discharging one obligation or another incurred as a result of this affiliation. And I have been mostly happy to be thus engaged.
When I joined a Unitarian church after spending all of my adult life "unchurched," I welcomed the opportunity to become more involved in social justice work. Four of my church's seven principles underscore this value. UUs (Unitarian Universalists) "affirm and promote"
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
But I'm beginning to think I may have gone too far. And I am having trouble placing this major consumer of time in the context of procrastination. Is all (or some) of this absorption in the needs of others a dodge, at least partly a way to avoid working on my own goals and dreams? Does it balloon as a result of the difficulty I have in saying no, and in setting and maintaining sensible boundaries? Am I (shudder) globally codependent? How do I balance "the work of this church" with the work of this woman? Have I become, as my children assert, a "church lady?"
The amount of grumbling and swearing I've been doing this week and last, as I slog through the final details of the huge annual fundraising project I've somehow been left in charge of, are probably telling me something. Above and beyond is where I've been going for quite a while, and I recognize the need to tether myself a bit more securely to the ground of my limited self before I leave the stratosphere.
The way this organization (and probably most others) works, there will be precious little respite between this now-routine crisis and the next. So, in the words of Ron Weasley, "she needs to sort out her priorities."