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..: Leaders

Was doing something last night I rarely do. I was watching TV by myself. Must have been more than a year since I did that for so long. So quiet, those hours after work. Frasier was on. In a short segment, Frasier's dad tells him a story.

"I had something like that happen to me," he begins. "In Korea, I had a sargeant who I would follow into the very gates of hell. It broke my heart when after the war I saw him flipping burgers. He used to say to me 'One day, I'll be taking orders from you!.' Well, I knew what I had to do. I marched right back in there and saluted him."

In my life, it has been the stories of leaders and their lasting affects on people that have really caught my attention. Good leaders have patterns about them, the way they do things are so different than other people. I have had so many poor leaders pull me along, and I myself have been a poor leader in many different ways.

I'm particularly sensitive to poor leaders. Hyper critical of those that choose to lead, and hyper critical of my own practices. This week and last, I've seen myself become that awful leader.

They say that when people are stressed, they go back to their bad habits. Hard won armor plating gives way to expose of an underlying soft nature. Old faults show through. I remember that I am a person easily critical and impatient with the faults of others. I have been more stressed in my life, more defeated and fighting for hope, than I've been in a long time. These last few weeks, life has been awful for me. Perhaps a matter of perspective, but give a man enough bad news and he will hang his head from weary.

At work, I am a leader. In my weeks of stress, my armor has fallen off, and I am impatient with those that work for me. I complain, I don't give the benefit of the doubt. Today I said about someone "I feel like I have to teach a horse how to run. How should I know? I only know it when I see it done right."

I see myself becoming heartless, simply because my own leader, my boss, is pushing me. And his partners are pushing him. And we in the executive management are weary.

Try this a bit, no now try this. If we just push through this next couple of months of pain, we will emerge into peace. These are just promises with no substance, no credit. We don't say those things anymore, and I can sense the Captain is stocking his lifeboat. Some of us have one eye on him as we go about scrubbing the deck.

Of course, work is not everything. How can I make the mistake of making it so? Easy. We're in a recession. The aftermath of the silly party at the turn of century industry optimism. Newly married, my debt weighs on me, I wish it would disappear. It is leaving, but so slowly. At least I have a job. I said that, what, like twice today.

There are other areas where I am not a good leader. Those are things I can't talk about on the RageBomb. Not allowed. I'll put it somewhere else. There are the stories I can tell you about my parents, but many of them are already here. And at my church, I feel a hundred miles away from those people sometimes. Every week, I feel more out of place, like they have these happy lives and I'm some afflicted monster. "How are you guys doing?" they ask. They mean well, but I am struggling to find someone else who is also struggling. Doesn't anyone else have a marital problem? Doesn't anyone else worry about losing a job they love? Doesn't anyone else hate their dad's curse on their life? I am looking for somebody like me, to give me hope. I have found some, but they feel the way I do. Looking to be normalized, impatient with the secret afflictions they hide.

We read these books. About how to grow our Faith, be a better Prayer, Wife, Husband, whatever. These books, they are so advanced. They teach us how paint landscapes with oils. I am not ready for that yet; lately I realize I don't even have hands or arms to hold the brushes. I have bigger issues. First things first.

Work is not everything. Family is not everything. Marriage is not everything. A few weeks ago, I made a committment to God, that I would not numb myself to real life. Life would come, and I would let it hurt, or feel good. But I am done numbing myself. It is as though I am regaining a sense of hearing or something. Everything is so damn loud!

That's the RageBomb. Unhappy, sad, blah blah blah. At the end of it, I vaguely hint that I still have hope. And I do. This is my ministry today.
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