I had a hard time deciding, but ultimately chose the book Lead Like Wesley by Mark L. Gorveatte as this week’s book of the week, during Holy Week. John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist Church. And since many of the books I choose are about leadership development and skills, I thought this book would be perfect. On the cover it says, “Help for Today’s Ministry Servants”; however, even if you do not consider yourself a Christian, I believe this book is full of leadership advice that could help any leader.
During this week as well, was the Notre Dame fire that all but completely destroyed 850 years of history in one day. All on Holy Week. According to the associated press there was only one injury by a fire fighter in this massive destruction raging the day after Palm Sunday, which is a miracle in and of itself that more did not get harmed.
Fire is metaphorical and literal all at the same time. Through the tears of millions all over the world we watched the destruction of what was a building, but describing it as such does not measure why so many were upset. Something that to so many “was always there”, it was a symbol of hope. But in the destruction, the burning away of the past, something else sprang up. It was an outpouring of those who wanted to help rebuild this iconic building of faith. I sometimes wonder if those tears are not just for a historic cathedral, but for the reminding of something else lost. Something else that was burned in the fire. Standing with the world as Notre Dame was burning we all stood with each other. We all stood still, for a moment. We stood for a moment of grief and reflection. Did we also see our innocence in those flames? A reminder of what used to be? Did we feel a little less secure seeing the old relic smoldering? Were we reminded that we need each other? The church is a gathering of people. Some of us still gather, and yet we have lost connection. We’ve lost connection with our neighbors, with our co-workers, with our loved ones. Not only do we not love our neighbors as ourselves, we don’t even want to get to know them. Maybe some of that burning although appeared to have happened Monday, has been happening for years within us. Maybe that is why many of us wept.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 16, 2019
In addition to Lead Like Wesley, this past week I started reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown. It’s a little ironic in that Rising Strong is about self forgiveness and the choices we make when things get uncomfortable. Brené lays out her goals for the book, “My goal for this book is to slow down the falling and rising processes: to bring into our awareness all the choices that unfurl in front of us during those moments of discomfort and hurt, and to explore the consequences of those choices.”¹
As we grow older, (not old but older) we need to start carrying a broom. Things that don’t get addressed start building up cobwebs. Inevitably there are things we don’t handle very well. And when we do that we are as Brené Brown says, denying our story. “When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead they own us, they define us.”² We need to lean in instead of away from. Because when the hurt passes, depending on how we responded is what comes after. Had the firemen at Notre Dame Cathedral not acted quickly, the building and all of the old beautiful relics would have been burned up. Like that building when we don’t respond and lean in there are beautiful pieces of our story that get burned up. “There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain; they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed.”³
Sure it’s disappointing that most of Notre Dame burned up. But there is a difference between choosing to live disappointed and being temporarily heart broken or disappointed. Choosing to live that way means allowing that moment to take over the rest of our lives. Choosing to lean in means doing what we can in that situation to be open for restoration to happen.
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Vigilant Poster Girl
Every week I talk about a book that we’re reading on leadership and self-development. You can follow along by going to the Book of the Week page at the top. And order a book (either kindle, audible, or paperback) by clicking on the photo of that book. When you do that, it also helps fund this site.
- Rising Strong by Brené Brown pg xxiii
- Rising Strong by Brené Brown pg 50
- Rising Strong by Brené Brown pg xxvii