Friday, March 18, 2011

What is "Crazy?" ::Personal::

Yesterday I spent my evening reading - from start to finish - Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coehlo. The book is brilliant. It invites the reader into the depths of the discontented soul and begs you to ponder the definition of "insanity." Coelho skillfully suggests that those of us who conform to the mundane demands of the societal expectations around us are perhaps more crazy than those who dare to not only unleash the dreams and passions and visions locked up within them but to follow those crazy ambitions off the beaten path into the wild unknown.

And so, as good literature must, the book has begun to stir me. Those notions within me which I push down as "craziness" are begging to be realized. And so I am using the blog - that public journal and open sounding board - to ask you what you think of my craziness. Here is my dream:

I heard a few weeks back about the Panera chain that opened in St Louis that has a "pay what you can afford" policy.   They have a sign at the door that says “Take what you need, leave your fair share,” And it is working. (Read more: Panera: Pay what you can afford | St. Louis Business Journal).

As a business owner, I love that idea. I have clients who are single moms who have suffered through costly divorces and just want photos of their kids but can't afford much. I have clients who are part of million-dollar businesses who tell me I'm under-priced. What if I took a page out of Panera's book and just charged people what they could afford?

I know we're talking about wedding photos, not loaves of bread. But what if? Would it mean I would get taken advantage of? Of course. Would it mean my business would face an uncertain fate with such an unprecedented move? Absolutely. Would it be counseled against by anyone who has completed Business 101? I'm sure.

But would it also mean the rare opportunity to bring out the best in humanity; to be overwhelmed by the generosity of both the rich and the poor; to take a stand against the de-humanizing consumeristic machine that the business world so often becomes? Oh in the depths of my heart, I hope so. I am crazy enough to dream so. Perhaps crazy enough to find out.

What do you think? Is it crazy to follow such a dream? Or is it crazy not to?...

And because every post is better with a photo, here is one in honor of the many tired feet that have walked the dusty paths of Africa and have beaten irremovable trails through my heart...


  1. Becca, I love love love it! Living as a radical is the most honoring of all choices I have made in my life. To live for others. They may not receive such love well but we are to answer only for ouselves. I also love reading Erwin McMannus - Chasing the Daylight, The Barbarian way and so on. His writings has given me a renewed fire and passion for people and serving the King. Now Panera's method of madness may not have been to serve the King, but one will never really know the motiviation. What we have to remember is that ALL of God's principles work in the world. Serving the poor, loving on God's people... you can't go wrong. love, Big Mamma

  2. Kathy,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I have a lot more research to do on how to "make it work" (especially legally - become a "nonprofit" that does for profit work? Remain an official business? etc.) but I feel like I've got to keep moving in this direction and see where it leads!

  3. that's awesome. really, really awesome.

  4. LOVE IT! LOVE IT! Becca, it's perfect for you and your love for photography/heart for giving :) Love you!

  5. Becs- If I recall, your intent for pursuing photography was never for the economic returns, rather for the joy of it. Moreover,your heart has always been for people (especially the hurting and the down trodden). Therefore it makes perfect "sense" to throw away "practical" business practices and pursue the things God has given you a heart for. When you do, I predict two things will happen: 1) you will be much happier with your work. It will never become a chore or a burden, rather an invigorating extension of who you are. 2) you will reap a harvest of benefits...both financially and otherwise. God makes it clear that when you give in secret, He will reward you openly (Math 6:4). No telling how many poor mothers will look on the cherished gift of a picture of their baby or family and will thank God because of you. In short...GO FOR IT!.