I hate to admit it, but I'm desperate. Again.
It happens with depressing regularity. Every three or four years, I take my eye off the ball. I go to sleep at the wheel. I stop firing on all four cylinders. (Or is it eight?)
Fundraising is a relentless and ever-expanding activity. There is no scope for self-satisfaction, no point at which you are allowed to push back from the desk and stride out of the office, secure in your right to a well-deserved rest. It never ends. People need their salaries every single month. The rent has to be paid. You've got to have petrol for the vans and the bus. The kids need crayons. What about a picnic, the training, the new books?
So you keep raising money and it keeps getting spent. The donor agencies preach self-reliance while the government taxes anything you earn. Yesterday everyone loved special schools, today it's all about inclusion. Tomorrow it will be clean rivers and HIV AIDS. You can't win, but you can't afford to lose.
So you keep running in the vain hope of at least staying in the same place. As the Red Queen explained to Alice: "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
Sometimes, I admit it, I forget what I am supposed to be doing. Mid-stream, I suddenly stop running. My family needs me. I get distracted by a new project. My 53 year old body demands sleep. I. Stop. Fundraising.
That's where we are right now. There. I've said it. We need 36 lakhs ($84,000) to get through the next year and I have NO IDEA where it's going to come from.
Just leap, I have been fond of saying. The net will appear.
There is a fine line between faith and arrogance and a deep gulf between trust in God and reckless expectation. Time after time after time, I have faced the abyss and been amazed and overwhelmed by what seems like an outpouring of support from the universe: we are here, it seems to say. You will not fail.
Each time it has happened I have been humbled and awed and each time - so strange! - I have promised myself that I will not let it happen again, that I will take care to have systems in place to prevent financial ruin. And though I put the systems in, once again I find myself needing to leap into the unknown, hoping against hope that the net will, once again, appear.
It always does. It will again. This time, next time, the time after that. This road we are on is ordained. Not easy, not complacent. But steady and sure, if just a tiny bit unsettling and a little like a test one hasn't prepared for.
But we leap and we leap and we leap - ever higher, ever more agile.
That net, that darling net: it's there every time.