Any of you who live in a city know what a nightmare it is to travel on the highway on a weeknight during rush hour. It would take hours to make what should be a relatively short 1.5 hour ride, and I'd be exhausted by the time I got there. Not to mention I'd be out incredibly late, driving on unfamiliar roads back home in the dark.
So, I said no. Imagine that! I actually said, "No, I can't." And I really couldn't do it. I felt REALLY badly saying it, but I just couldn't give up that much time and energy right then. I was a bit annoyed to that they were asking me at the very last minute, meaning I wasn't their first choice.
A few days later I got another call about the event. They were getting desperate to book a speaker, I could tell. They offered me a PRIVATE CAR SERVICE to transport me from my apartment to the event and back. At this point, I had to rethink things. Yes, it would still be a lot of time, but it was a grand gesture, they were really needing someone to attend, and I would regain all of those hours I thought I'd lose driving there and back. But I also felt a little weird accepting something like a car service. I could drive myself, couldn't I? I had to keep telling myself, "No, driving yourself that far away, that late on a weekday when you have to work the next day is asking a lot of you. Offering you a car service is the least they can do, given you're doing them such a huge favor."
Ultimately, I said yes. And I'm really, really glad that I did. I had a delightful time at the event. Traffic on the way there was absolutely horrific, so I'm thankful that I didn't offer to drive myself there. But I had a wonderful driver who kept me entertained the entire time. And the group I met with was passionate, excited, and had many questions about the work I do on reproductive health and how it relates to my faith.
A lesson for me: say no when something is too much, even for a great cause. And if they find a way to make it easier for you, take it as a compliment.