Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Leap of Faith

At the beginning of most courses I feel a little disoriented, even slightly unbalanced. It's as if the new topic is water slipping through my fingers. It feels wonderful, but I can't hold on to it. This feeling is intensified now as I tread carefully through this course's content and consider the follow-through I must make as I explore Leadership, Justice and Forgiveness. On their own each is a topic worthy; symbiotically this is a powerful concept. To further throw me off kilter the class is reinforced with servant leadership. 

Last summer out in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest one of my classmates was flabbergasted when I told him I was not a servant leader; it did not fit my style. He was the one who willingly helped everyone get the water heated before heating his own for food or hot drinks. To be honest, this was a time consuming and undesirable task. During it all, he was kind, intelligent and a great conversationalist. But one potential limitation I saw in this style is how few people a leader can reach in this limited but dedicated approach. Even worse, many fellow students did not appear to appreciate his efforts as he served them. He was so focused on the moment with a genuine heart filled with love, yet there seemed to be little planning and attention for the future. Is giving so completely, even blindly of yourself servant leadership?

Don't get me wrong, there are so many elements of servant leadership which I find illuminating, appropriate and frankly the right thing to do. But I am not one who hitches a philosophy to my name unless I am committed to living it as completely as I can. As I've grown wiser I have found my willingness to explore without commitment does not make me indecisive, it makes me reliable. If I have any doubts about my commitment then I do not make it and I will say it plainly.  Hence my No Excuses outlook!

After one week of engaging in reading and student dialogue analyzing the yin and yang of reconciliation after the fall of South African apartheid, I've come to realize the students in this class are a cut above the rest. Despite our coming together for this elective we are all enthusiastic, excited and very giving to one another. I have been looking forward to this elective for quite awhile. It's fascinating to see the energy change and beat with glowing beauty in the student community.  For me, today servant leadership is a leap of faith. Only I am not riding a bullet train towards the light at the end of the tunnel; I am walking. Slowly, methodically, with great concentration and focus.