Wednesday, June 25, 2008
"Do not walk in front of me, for I may not follow.
Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead.
Do not walk beside me, either, just pretty much leave me alone."
This reminds me of my first experience in jury duty. One of the questions prospective jurors were asked was "Do you consider yourself a leader or a follower?" Every one of them responded with leader. Got to keep up those appearances.
It got me to thinking, and my conclusion was much like Karen's quote. If one is to be considered a leader there must be people following. Nope. No one behind me. There's usually no one in front of me, either, more through unusual approaches to things than to being a die-hard nonconformist. You know, one of those people who is so determined to be different that they look just like everyone else.
I've done a lot of off-trail hiking in the mountains. Using trails is easier; the path is smoother and the down trees, rocks, holes and streams are removed, cut through or bridged. When you find your own path you're on your own to get past the obstacles. This worked fine in Colorado but in California making your own path is, um, a problem. Ever heard of ceanothus? There are many kinds, ranging from resistant to downright hostile, and forcing your way through these miniature forests is painful. I very soon learned to stay on the trail. This was very frustrating.
Basically, I just want to get to where I'm going. I'll make my own trail if needed, but following another is easier. Very rarely is there anyone going the same way, so I just walk. If there's an existing trail I'll use it until it no longer goes the direction I need, and then I'll sigh and take off across the wild country of wherever, hoping I won't get lost.
There's a major fault with this approach... and the fault can also be seen as an advantage. I look ahead to where I want to go and choose the most direct path, and simply concentrate on that. Things that are outside my light of sight tend to get ignored. Distractions, or delights. I've probably missed a lot this way, but there are times when it's good. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of getting somewhere and realize I've not seen much along the way.
Leader, follower, who cares. Just do what comes to hand. Following can be just another way of leading, and leading as demonstrated by politicians is just being led around by perceived public opinion and money. There are few real leaders; the real ones are fairly quiet, and usually villified. No one wants a truly original person in charge.
I wonder if there's a way to walk an individual path with one or more companions. There'd probably be some compromise involved, and I'm not averse to that. Most of the time, though, the compromise is made by the weaker person in a relationship, after the leader finds out which buttons to press to get the responses desired. Yes, I'm cynical. I've seen and been involved in too much of this.
One could do an interesting study of how Jesus leads. He leads because he's qualified; there is no ego involved.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
How can words be assembled to represent events in a life? Why bother? Does anyone care? If they did care... would I care?
Relationships are, to me, a sign of failure. All those years of being in school and at home, situations in which being left alone was the best option. "If you don't behave we'll send you to see the principal." "Wait until your father gets home." Yah... meeting with people means I've failed. Not too much of a problem for one who can choose when to relate to people, but a huge problem for one who has the Holy Spirit living within: a judge all built in and inescapable.
A constant reminder of failure, of need. This is a problem for long-term living. What's the point? Everything I do is wrong.
Old habits, as Lu wrote about recently, die very hard. We both know that God is NOT watching over our shoulders waiting for the slightest infraction so he can jump on us. Jesus didn't die to judge people. I have God's voice working gently to overwrite the past, but the past looms large and in strength.
I was thinking about this years ago. My life has been pretty much just waiting for the failure I knew would come. Inevitable. That I've made it this far is due more to luck than anything else. God asked me, "Why not wait for success?" I thought it was a neat idea. Then we got into the process, and that has been no fun.
If relationships are the key to life I'm still looking for the lock. I tried to overwrite my social backwardness with rational processes, basically telling myself what to do. Relationships aren't rational, not completely, and much runs under a surface that to the rational mind is opaque. Only the heart can see through the horizon.
Ah, the heart... much is written, much is sung, much is assumed. Jesus was the exemplar of a man with a heart, and he was killed for his efforts. Hearts have a hard time in this world. The process of transforming a child into an adult is in large part the process of the child learning to put ever tighter constraints upon the heart; if this is not done, the person is said to be odd, or to wear their heart on their sleeve.
I've always thought that in a contest between a sensitive man and a ravaging world, the world is wrong. This is why I've spent the better part of my time alone. Now, the big question is, what does God think of a sensitive man? I have no place to hide from him.