When I was invited to join in a gathering of a few IAW members, and especially since the invitation came from Mariam Khosravani, I knew I’d be in for a treat. Previous experience promised I would meet powerful women, hear their success stories, and have true fun among friends. So it came as a surprise to learn that this meeting concerned a new organization, one that is affectionately called “Visionaries.” Ms. Khosravani’s new vision is to use the power of our success to globally benefit those in need. I had seen her play an integral part at the ISCC events and knew her tender heart led her to take action where it was needed. Yet my initial reaction made me wonder if my heart had hardened. Have I become immune to the needs of others?
Like all other guests, I had dressed up for the occasion, enjoyed seeing friends, and savored wine, tea, and the fantastic spread prepared for us. The magnificent home where the event took place dazzled me, and the crowd’s enthusiasm set the mood for Mariam Khosravani’s emotional speech.
She spoke with fervor and seemed quite passionate about her new idea. She asked a successful community, why not do something to benefit those who are at the verge of financial breakdown? Why not be the “visionaries,” and allow a monthly membership fee, that amounts to less than the price of a good dinner out, make a difference in someone’s life?
I must admit, my initial reaction was to distance myself. After all, I’m not even part of Irvine’s community, and God only knows how many charities I’m already involved in. By the end of her speech, I had lined up enough evidence for my internal jury to rule against membership. Still, something was nagging at me and questions began to pile up. A group of dedicated ladies had spent months to plan this event, yet while they willingly volunteered to do the labor, I was sitting back and counting my pennies! Ms. Khosravani said it repeatedly, “Please don’t feel obligated.” So why did I have such an uneasy feeling?
When I left, she gave me a hearty embrace and thanked me for being there. With no yellow border added to my nametag, it was clear I had not become a member, but that seemed to make no difference in the way anyone viewed me. On the long drive back to San Diego, I thought hard. When did I become so immune to those in need? Had my heart turned so hard that the story of a young girl in wheel chair or a woman in need of feeding her children no longer fazed me? I wanted to believe that I had done enough. Enough? When are good deeds considered enough? Will one more charity hinder my lifestyle? Was I able to differentiate between not wanting to do this and not being able to? What made me so high and mighty that I now dared turn my back on those who could benefit from my help?
Still, no matter how I tried to reason, there seemed to be no end to my inner conflict. The voice within was arguing that I have already committed to enough organizations for the year. That I’m actually past my tax limit and I don’t even have a job! And shouldn’t I consult my husband about such donations?
Then as if the provisional light bulb had switched on, I saw a solution. Maybe I’m not as immune as I thought. Who is pressuring me but myself? Maybe my heart has remained tender enough after all. Maybe I could meet them halfway. No one is going to be offended by a smaller donation.
Having found a way to do what I can, it feels great to have a part in this great program, no matter how small that part may be. I can only imagine how wonderful the actual “Visionaries” must feel. I hope they sense the depth of my respect for what they’re doing. I hope they know that I, too, care.