I have been dreaming a lot lately. This is pretty unusual for me. I don’t typically dream much when I sleep. Many of these dreams have been childhood visions and dreams of my Mom and Dad. Several times, as I have awakened, I have been really struck with missing my parents. I lost my Mom 23 years ago and my father passed away last October. All of my grandparents are also gone. I have been left with a feeling of being alone. This is not your usual feeling of loneliness. I have plenty of friends, lots of relatives, a wife and children. However, this feeling is different- something that I have not experienced before.
I guess I relied on my parents more than I had considered. I always knew that I could phone my Dad to ask his opinion or just to share an experience. I didn’t call him every day or even every week, but when I needed to talk he was there. There was a comfort in knowing this. There has been a bunch of times since his passing that I have had the urge to call him- actually reaching for my cellphone- then realizing that he won’t answer.
I am getting an understanding of what it feels like when an elderly person says “all my friends are gone”. It’s lonely realizing that you are reaching the “top of the order”. I have been considering this too. I am now the senior male of our family- the oldest- the wisest? Wow, really struggling with this too. I’m supposed to have all the answers now? Be the one with all the advice? The sage of the family? Just doesn’t feel right.
As I have been thinking about this new season, I have also been examining what it is like being at the top of an organization. The pinnacle of an organization is also a lonely position. As I have progressed in my career to an executive position, I have noticed that the gang no longer shares things with you- they treat you differently. They don’t include you in their discussions. Sometimes you walk in and thing get quiet. They are now careful and guarded around you. You are no longer part of the mainstream. You are set apart.
Sometimes, leading is not really a question. You realize that you have to lead- you really have no choice. They need direction, guidance, and support. They need someone that they can look up to. Someone they can call on when they don’t know what to do. You now have superior experience and wisdom. Yet, the top can be a lonely place. You don’t have a support system around you. You may have others in similar positions that you can consult, but ultimately, you will have to make the final decision.
Leading is not easy. I really enjoy helping others and serving, but it can be tiring. I often think that it would be easier to take a lesser position, go backwards, and be part of the gang again. But I can’t. They need me. And it’s my turn.
I wish my Dad was still here, but he’s gone. So it’s my turn to be in front. I suppose it will feel more natural as time goes on. So I’ll strap on the pack and start marching. That’s what you must do when you are at the top of the order.
Have you experienced the loneliness of being at the top of the order? Have you ever felt isolated due to your position? Click on comments and tell me your experience!
I watched a fascinating story last week about a seed vault in Norway that stores seeds from all over the world in case of a global disaster. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on an island off the coast of Norway, near the Arctic Circle in an old coal mine. The seed vault is located 390 ft inside of a mountain and is 430 feet above sea level, so that even if the polar ice caps melt the seeds will stay dry. The structure is impressive, and the design takes into account global and cataclysmic disasters- saving the seeds to help reestablish food sources after an extinction-type disaster.
So I can get my arms around this- I’m a builder. Make it tough and high and strong. Build a fortress to save the seeds! I get it- but this is the part that is truly amazing.
The seeds are kept at the optimal temperature for long term storage- zero degrees Fahrenheit. Seems like they would eventually freeze and die- right? How could they still be alive at zero degrees for more than a winter or two? Well, not only will they live for a few winters, the seeds can be stored for hundreds and in some cases even thousands of years. At zero degrees! Forget the fancy building- that is truly amazing!
Seeds are the source of life. They are extremely resilient- they have a distinct purpose. They wait for the right conditions- warmth, soil, water and then do the miraculous. A single seed is designed to yield much more than itself. To grow and multiply- to do the extraordinary. Is there a seed within you that is waiting to come to life?
Spring is here and the yearly winter slumber is coming to an end. Take heart- your seed is still alive. What do you have that you want to grow?
-Maybe it’s the education that you have always put off…
-Maybe it’s restoring a lost relationship…
-Maybe it’s a business or career goal…
-Maybe it’s volunteering or serving the less fortunate…
-Maybe it’s learning to play the piano…
-Maybe it’s the exercise program…
There is a seed in all of us that longs to burst through the warm ground of spring. This is a great time to start something new, take a chance, and get out of the old routine. Each year starts new and fresh- it’s God’s plan.
What can you start this year? It’s not too late- your seed is alive! Just awaken it from its slumber!