Who is a leader and who is a follower is becoming less and less clear, and, frankly, less and less relevant.
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My friend Nate battled cancer last year. After an abrupt diagnosis and surgery, he and his wife moved to New York City and stayed with my family during the chemo and radiation treatment.
Nate is a leader at Community Solutions, a national non-profit organization, untangling the knot of homelessness. They have been working patiently, deftly, and joyfully, making historical progress.
He set up his office desk at our dining table, and I delighted in cooking dinners while eavesdropping on his work conversations.
During these phone calls, for the most part, he was curiously silent. He asked heartfelt questions. He re-organized conversations around what's important and unknown, and bookended each one with playfulness and care.
I asked him when and how he had learned to hold space like that.
"I remember the...
You stand at the threshold, present and lucid.
One foot in the known and one in the unknown.
There is no judgment. There is no force. There is no rush.
You are safe and aware of your freedom to be yourself.
Even if you do not know who you are.
Rays of amber light were arriving in our kitchen. It was that in-between time, dusk, when the war of New York City gives way to its peace.
My wife was stirring a boiling pot of coconut curry soup, and we were having a sweet-spot conversation—intense and gentle at the same time.
That past weekend we had hosted a young couple seeking marital advice, so she asked, “What did you notice about the evening?” An issue emerged, namely my propensity to fill up space with words.
Talking limited me professionally, relationally, and spiritually. Secretly, I was ashamed of it. So, the conversation hit a nerve.
I stood in the middle of the kitchen seen and accepted. There was an urgent calm.
She moved away from the stove and, as if...
…to my family, friends, and acquaintances.
You know how we sometimes assume that everyone knows what goes on inside of us? Until we realize that we have not made our heart and mind visible at all.
Recently, I've received an email from a friend (an excerpt):
“When I first met you, I had the impression that you were this sort of inherently caring humanist, so I am sad to see that you are not that way after all, or any longer. You charge money - lots of it - for the soul-searching that pastors supposedly deliver to their congregation for free, asking only for camaraderie and collegiality in living this life, and spreading the love of God. I typically withhold judgment of others' pursuits, but seeing your evolution over the years into a person who commercializes the wisdom inherent in loving God the way that you do, has made me sad.”
Reading this, I felt misunderstood and realized that this cloud is hanging over what I have decided to do with my life. And that is up...