I realized last night that I’d made a huge mistake that will probably create havoc for the community. I’ve written of the beginning of this mistake before on Nov 18, 2012. In order to create a budget for Eighth Day, I had had to estimate how much money we would have left over at the end of the year. I went back over the figures in QuickBooks and—after a very difficult, prolonged and confusing process—I estimated that it would be about $24,000. As I wrote then, I gave that figure to the budget committee, we created a recommended budget on the basis of my estimate, and two weeks ago the entire community passed the budget.
It now turns out that my estimate was grossly in error. We will have almost no money left over at the end of the year, which means that the extra $24,000 we put in the budget and have allocated to the various ministries is imaginary. The budget would have to be cut down by about 15%, but process would be enormously inconvenient for the community. I’ve emailed the Eighth Day leadership team and the budget committee and recommended that we not go back and rewrite the budget. For complicated reasons that aren’t relevant here, Marja and I will owe about that same amount in tithe by the time we bring my mother-in-law’s inheritance to the States. So I’m recommending that at the end of 2013 we see how much is needed and Marja and I pay that tithe early.
Regardless of how we solve the problem, I’ve now made a mistake with relatively serious implications. It’s pretty clear that I need to stop doing the books for Eighth Day. Since I want to be able to continue contributing my time and energy to the community, having to give up doing the books would be a real blow. Actually, doing the bookkeeping (as opposed to the computational error I made leading to this mistake) is relatively easy to do, and I think I would be able to keep that task for, but, given this mistake and the community’s knowledge of my Alzheimer’s, I doubt they would want me to continue.
It’s strange, but I didn’t (and don’t) feel the panic that I ordinarily would if I made a mistake of this magnitude and had to acknowledge it to other people. Perhaps it’s apathy; more likely it’s the combination of knowing that it’s really not “my” fault (but the Alzheimer’s) and trusting the community to accept me as I am. I am certainly glad I told them earlier.