As a mother of littles, I sometimes let my current role supercede every other role. I never introduce myself as the daughter of my parents, or as the sister of my brother. That would even be absurd. Yet, introducing myself as the mother of so-and-so seems perfectly normal in my community.
But once in a while, the fact that I am a philanthropy consultant and writer — sometimes it does come out.
This weekend we were invited by our dear friend on the board to attend the Al-Falah Fundraising Dinner, the community’s first event in their freshly constructed building. And after a very long time, I felt a strong desire to write. Bismillah.
Witnessing the arc of American Muslim fundraising as a community member and a donor, I am amazed. My husband was introducing me to one of the board members who I had met virtually last year and she said, “Your fundraising training was so helpful.” I asked, what was helpful? Did you use anything from the training? She said, yes, it would be helpful for you to do another training.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that I currently get paid in kisses and hugs by little kids in classes, but those words meant a lot. It reminded me that there is a responsibility we have to learn and to teach whatever it is that we know. I may have attended dozens of fundraisers in New York City as part of my job as a consultant, but thats dozens more than the next person. I have something to offer.
In a single hall, there were hundred of people of various ages, nationalities, ethnicities, classes, and colors. I see that diversity anytime I go into a masjid in New Jersey, but there is something different about coming together to build a religious home. Having a place to pray is one of those basic human rights. People who benefit from a community institution are responsible for paying for that institution, for ensuring that there is something for future generations. There is a struggle to ensure that people have a right that can so easily be cast aside by both the right and the left. As Khalid Latif described it, his grandfather made his son sit under a lamppost to study, because they had no electricity. We have so much more to offer than we think. And as a community, there is so much we can build together.
I don’t know who I am sometimes, as the daily activities of this lifestyle don’t really reconcile with my professional identity anymore.
In fact the reason for such a lull in the posts is that I have been doing some heart work, trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing, what is my purpose. It seems so apparent on some days, and completely lost on other days.
Can you relate to this feeling?