23 Jan 2019 Waiting on Change
The woman sat awkwardly on the folding chair outside the dark office of a small business, continually checking the posted hours of operation and the calendar housed on her phone.
Without any interaction, I recognized the signs of waiting and wondering. She was questioning herself and her calendar as she peered into the uninhabited space. I was in an adjoining business waiting on an appointment of my own which allowed me to watch and consider what she was going through.
I checked the clock in hopes it was approaching what might be considered opening time. I found myself desperately wanting someone to show up, and worried that I might be called into my meeting before witnessing the outcome of her not so patient waiting game.
More than once she gathered her things as if preparing to leave, but then let out a sigh and sat back down. Maybe she held out hope that there had been a misunderstanding or the person she was to meet was running late.
I imagined her thoughts during this process included what it would take to set up a new appointment, postponing what she had come to accomplish and the disappointment of not getting done what she had hoped on this Saturday morning.
It reminded me of times I have been in a similar situation, always questioning if I am at the wrong location, at right time or have the date confused- and then in the next instant brushing off frustration I feel at the other party, certain they have forgotten about me.
Anyone who has waited for a date to show at a restaurant can relate to this feeling of uncertainty that can creep up on us when things don’t go exactly according to plan.
I think the reason I was so captured by the waiting woman is I often feel as if I am waiting on change to happen in our world and our community, often reminding myself that change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle and glorious at the end. Change has a reputation for requiring a special type of diligence and patience.
I lead a team of change-makers at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and we acknowledge in our work with donors, advocates and residents that change comes at it’s own pace, guided and curated by people who are willing to be in it for the long haul.
Finally, the owner of the business arrived, and the waiting woman was visibly relieved and so was I.
If you are in the midst of working to create change in your life and in the community. The waiting is hard but the pay off is worth it. Hang in there.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com