Since I first began offering writing workshops and pastoral care, (although it took me a while to come out about calling it that) here in Boston, some fourteen years ago, I have always operated on a pay what you can, often pro bono basis. My calling is to work with my community, and to be of service to its members, regardless of any particular individual’s ability to pay money. It has always been that way, and always will be.
I put out a donations can. Because I don’t want to know what any particular person does or does not contribute. It’s just not my business. And I am human…it’s all too easy to judge, to go down the path of feeling bitter or taken advantage of. I would be dishonest if I did not admit this.
And so, I have that bucket. And I keep in it, at the very bottom, two pennies. The widow’s mites, if you will. There is a story about Jesus, watching the temple tithing box all day, and then making the observation that many people, indeed, had given extravagantly of their excess, but that he had seen one widow put in a wee small donation, that was, in fact, all she had.
Am I asking folks to give extravagantly, or all they have? No. I am writing this to tell you that I leave those pennies in the bottom of that bucket to remind myself that I am in service to a beautiful, loving, and generous community, and that no matter how much cash is in that bucket at the end of a workshop night, or the end if a day full of meetings, I am richly paid. Thank you.