A little more than six years ago my husband, children, and I left our tiny Chicago apartment in search of more green space, doting grandparents, and free and ample parking. We knew that in moving home to Iowa we would find all of these things, but as we searched for a comfortable local coffee shop, tried to make new friends, and began to navigate our slowed-down, no-traffic life, we also found it filling up with a beautiful new intensity. Over the years, a passion for global activism, an attentiveness to the needs of our neighbors, and an appreciation for The Adventure Project has unfolded. Our lives richer because of it.
1. FRIENDSHIPS DEEPEN WHEN TAP GETS INVOLVED.
It was a lovely day in rural Iowa when my sister-in-law Tesi asked me to “dance for water.” She and her friends were trying to build a well in a community in Liberia and she thought I might like to join the effort. Did I mention we were new in town? I sensed Tesi’s invitation was one that offered possible friendship with smart, creative, socially conscious women. Plus, I love my sister-in-law and couldn’t say yes fast enough. I chose a song (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2) and danced in an empty pool at a YMCA camp while my children, niece, and nephews looked on with curious expressions. This video, later posted on YouTube in order to raise awareness for the cause, ended with Tesi dumping a bucket of water over my head. (She was a film studies major and big on symbolism; I was desperate for friends.)
I suppose it was a baptism of sorts because from that moment, I couldn’t get enough of this group and their mission. Along with a studied awareness of the world water crisis, friendships grew and relationships were invigorated and nurtured. Since then, Tesi and I have hosted five “Wine to Water” fundraising parties with our amazing tribe of generous friends, raising thousands of dollars for fresh water solutions and The Adventure Project. Each year, we gather our group of women for a common goal. We don’t gossip or indulge pettiness. Instead, we plan, drink wine, eat cupcakes, share stories, and use our collective capital and social influence for good. This willingness to engage in things bigger than ourselves deepens friendships in wonderful ways.
Since then, Tesi and I have hosted five “Wine to Water” fundraising parties with our amazing tribe of generous friends, raising thousands of dollars for fresh water solutions and The Adventure Project.
2. EMBRACING TAP NURTURES PASSION AND PURPOSE.
I am a mom to three young children, a freelance writer and editor, a home cook, a wannabe crafter, and an avid consumer of good books. And just like you, I find that time is scarce. However, managing my interests and responsibilities has encouraged me to take an honest look at the gifts and talents that I possess and find ways to maximize the hours that make up each day, as well as the days that ultimately make up a life. In doing, I have discovered that I can use what I’ve been given — no matter what it is or when I discover it — in ways that can ease the suffering of others. For instance, when TAP embarked on training and empowering well mechanics in India, I gathered the ladies and spent a few hours making homemade, all-natural lip balm to sell to our friends as a fundraiser. And before our annual Wine to Water party, a dozen or so women gather at my house for Craft Night at which we make items to sell at the event.
Emily pours drinks, Kara makes bath salts, and Beth melts hot soy wax into repurposed teacups to make candles. This doesn’t feel like work, rather, it feels like beautiful, purposeful community. We all have incredible gifts and talents that we can use generously for the betterment of our world. Not only do others benefit, but our own lives are all the richer. Francis Buechner’s quote never gets old: The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
3. TAP NEEDS MAMAS LIKE MAMAS NEED TAP.
It’s a given that there is suffering in our world. What’s also true is that if you have clean water, access to healthcare, something to eat, and a device to read this on, you have absolutely won the lottery in life. With this tremendous win comes the opportunity to alleviate some of the physical pain and hardship of others. I believe mothers are poised to act.
TAP needs moms who are creative and hard working and just enough sleep-deprived to dream audaciously and execute masterfully. TAP needs moms to help further their vision and support the work they do in both big and little ways. And moms need TAP because it’s an organization that’s innovative, transparent, and smart. TAP offers not only solutions, but dignity to families just like our own. Moms need TAP because our kids are watching us, and whether they’re sucking a pacifier or riding a bike, they observe every move we make. I want my children to listen in on conversations about the need for better healthcare in Uganda and clean air in Haiti. I want them to know that we have the responsibility to help one another and that our neighbors live both right next door and a world away. I want them to know that we don’t live for ourselves and that kindness trumps all else. TAP helps me do that by providing the vocabulary to explain and the opportunity to help. I like to think that every once in awhile — from my comfortable home in the Midwest — I give my kids a glimpse of what it looks like to act kindly and to be energized by compassion. As a mother, woman, friend, and human, I want to teach my kids to understand what TAP already knows: Anyone can be a catalyst for positive, life-giving change.
Leslie Klipsch lives in Iowa with her husband and three children. A freelance writer and passionate promoter of peaceful and healthful living, you can read her work at http://www.leslieklipsch.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/leslie.klipsch