Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Inpirational Email Week #2

Last year, I wrote an inspirational email a week to raise money for Pyramid Atlantic, an art center that builds communities through papermaking, printmaking and book arts. I raised $5,000 in 13 weeks. The money funded 69 art classes and workshops, 50 internships, studios for 419 artists and events for 7,539 people of all ages at Pyramid.

This year, I am going to raise 1,000,000 pennies ($10,000) and I want you to help me. One week is in the books. I raised 50,000 pennies (or $500) with your help on my road to raising 1,000,000 pennies (or $10,000) for Pyramid Atlantic. A friend brought me the change from his Tzedakah Box. Tzedakah is Hebrew for charity and giving Tzedakah is an important part of the Jewish tradition. I am so grateful to him and the many people who brought me their pennies.

But first a dose of inspiration:

17 years ago, I made the biggest decision of my life. I proposed to my girlfriend Lisa. She said yes (whew) and once we decided to get married was when it got interesting. I called my mom to tell her. I knew she was not going to like what I had to say. "Mom, I'm getting married, I said. "Congratulations, that's wonderful," she said. "Listen, I want you know that I am going to invite Dad to the wedding," I said and waited. Silence. "If you invite your father, I am not coming," she said. Silence again. I did not know what to say. "But mom, listen, I'm getting married. Its my wedding," I said. "If you invite your father, I am not going," she said. Silence. I hung up the phone. I called my dad, "Dad, I'm getting married," I said. "Congratulations, that's wonderful," he said. "Listen, I want you know that Mom is going to be at the wedding" I said and waited. Silence. "Ok" he said. "Great" I said, we spoke a little and I hung up.

My folks divorced when I was 13. It was not a pretty divorce. I didn't see my dad for 5 years. My mom did a great job raising my brother and I, but it was hard growing up without my dad. He and I reconnected when I was in college. It felt great seeing him again, but I felt I was letting my mother down by starting a relationship with this man she could not stand. I spent many holidays that shuttling between my dad's place and my mom's place, trying to spend equal time with them both and never feeling that I truly was. So, I wanted my mom to put aside her anger for one day. I called my mom the following week and again she refused. I gave it a few months and and still refusal. I called my mom again and I said, "look, this is my day and I need you to be there for me on my day. "I am sorry Jose, I cannot be there if that man is there," she said. "He has no right to be there."

So, May 31st, 2006 came. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. The sun was shining and I think there was even a rainbow. I held out hope she would come, but she never did. My dad was there, it meant the world to me and I was at peace. My mom and I saw each other a year later. I traveled to Miami with my wife to attend my brother Rob's wedding. I drove over to her house. She answered the door. I remember we hugged and she cried and she said, "I'm sorry." I said, "It's alright, mom, it's alright."

Its alot easier to live your life for other people and make decisions based on what they think is best, but that's not living. I can't say that things went back to the way they were before with my mom, because they didn't, but I forgave her and I love her. Looking back, I am grateful to her. She taught me that day what its truly like to make a decision for yourself. It's hard and sucky and lonely for a little while, but slowly from that loneliness is born a peace. The peace of having made the right decision and an ability to forgive others because you know that this decision belonged to you and you alone the whole time.

I hope I inspired you today, I made a decision to raise 1,000,000 pennies and I hope you will join my campaign. Its easy:

Your pennies will support 69 art classes and workshops, 50 internships, studios for 419 artists and events for 7,539 people of all ages at Pyramid. If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, no denomination will be turned away . You can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign.

Join me at Pyramid this Saturday for a free art workshop at 2 pm with my friends from Silver Spring Town Center Inc. We will make "Oscar Award" puppets in preparation for their Academy Awards Party: An Evening With The Stars.

Bring your pennies
and join me on my journey. Here is my latest picture of all the pennies I took to Eagle Bank. I promise to write to inspire you and not quit until I do.

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