March 31, 2010

reckless, wounded leadership ... it's a journey

"The blessing is found in the journey, 
not in reaching the destination."
- unknown

Last summer while I was in Montreal, I attempted to get some mental rest from the intense days by reading a book called, The Children of Hurin, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I enjoyed both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, so I thought I'd grab this one and see how it measured up (plus, there was a significant lack of English selections in the French language bookstore where I was shopping). Well, I wasn't disappointed with the story and I ended up learning some significant lessons along the way.

What increased the "teachable moment" factor of the book was that I was watching several students on the trip with some incredible, but mostly unrealized, leadership potential.  The comparisons to the characters in Tolkien's book were all around me ... huge potential, but massive doubt or fear or lack of belief in their own abilities ... for the moment.

As the book progresses and the story unfolds, the characters of The Children of Hurin become champions.  At other times, they might be described best as failures - yet only for a moment.  This is what life is, isn't it?  Life is a journey.  It's full of twists and turns and wart and wrinkles.  Yet though this, we learn and grow.  Though it we fall and get back up.  We are constantly moving ahead.

Last night I received a text message from a young man who asked my advise about a sin that he continues to commit.  He is in a cycle where he asks forgiveness from the Lord, picks himself up, but then falls victim to the temptations that come his way and he sins again.  He asked me if there was hope to overcome.

So, we chatted for a bit about verses like 1 John 1:9 and James 5.16.  We talked about not walking along in the shadows, but bringing another person along to keep him accountable and encouraged, bringing the sin into the light where it can be dealt with.  This young man is a leader.  He may not recognize it yet, but in the midst of his stumbling he is growing in his faith, in his transparency, in his understanding of the strength of team vs. individual.  

In the end of the book, Tolkien writes of the death of the main character, Túrin, as he gives into the darkness he has refused to bring anyone else into.  He dies alone with his guilt and sin.  He dies as a leader who has not been perfect and missed some huge opportunities to change his ways.  His life was a wild journey and the lessons were not learned by standing still but rather in the throws of the journey. 

Your journey, and mine, are not yet complete ... keep moving forward ... keep learning ... keep inviting others along to share it with you!


Confidant said...

Interesting article, Dan. Do you care to comment on how Morgoth's curse played into the outcome, or does your analogy stop short of that dimension of things? :) -Allan

Dan King said...

Hmmm ... it was several months ago that I read the book. I'm going to re-read a bit and get back to you on that. Great Question Allan.

What do you think?

Confidant said...

I guess the only insight I would add is that our failures aren't always 100% our fault. Sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control, even real sources of evil influence. We always have a role to play in our own spiritual health, but sometimes it's good to realise that our flesh is not our only enemy in this world, and pray that we might have wisdom to discern between them.

On the subject of Tolkien, you should watch this movie:


Dan King said...

Wise words ... thanks.