Reaching Down

My grandfather was an avid golfer.  He simply loved the game.  I remember thinking when I was a young kid just how great it would be if my grandpa invited me to play golf with him.  I actually visualized it often, but I knew that it would be a pain for him.  I would be sending the ball all over the place and it would be frustrating for him to watch and try to teach me the game.  My grandpa would visit with us often and we would watch golf together on television.  I waited for the day that he would invite me to play golf with him.

But the invitation never happened.

My grandfather passed away when I was twenty something.  I wonder now what our relationship could have been if we would have played golf together.  See, golf was his game.  I saw how he came alive watching golf on TV.  I wish I would have had the opportunity to watch him play the game that he really loved and enjoy spending time together on the golf course.

I thought about asking him to take me golfing.  But I didn’t want to be a bother to him.  I knew that he would rather golf with someone who knew what they were doing.  The problem was, I was not in the right position to initiate the golf game.  My grandpa was.  Even though his position was above me he could easily reach down and pull me up to a golf game with him.

I believe that this condition relates to many relationships.  I believe that the person in the power position has the more natural path to initiate the connection.

To bring others along and walk with them.

To spend time together.

To share problems and struggles.

To teach and mentor.

To share wisdom and experiences.

Do we seize this opportunity or do we let it go by?  If you are in the upper position it’s as easy as reaching out your hand.  If you are in the lower position it is much more difficult as you have to get past “the ask”.

I can tell you, in relationships of growth, even the smallest of things can have a significant impact.  I am reminded of this every time someone repeats some rather obscure instruction, story or lesson that I gave years ago that I have long since forgotten.  I promise you- they are listening and watching.  You have a greater impact than you believe.  If you want to experience more- reach down.  Pull them up with you.  They are waiting.

So what do you think?  Do you have a story to share where you pulled someone up?  Did this get you thinking about your position in relationships?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think! 

Advertisements

Wounded Warriors

Life is full of pain.  As leaders, wherever we are, we must learn to help those that are hurting.  A lost loved one, a break-up, financial loss, tough diagnosis.  We will all face some really bad news and we will also be in a position to help someone who is suffering.  So what do you do when you are hit with helping someone who is hurting?  I think you can look at it a bit like triage for a battlefield wound.

Africa 2009- Sunset on the Zambezi River

Africa 2009- Sunset on the Zambezi River

Assess the wound:  The depth of the situation and the condition of the person that is suffering needs to be considered carefully.  Is this something that I can help with?  Sometimes the best way to help is to simply listen.  Fight the urge to have all the answers or give advice until you are sure they are ready and you really know the facts.  Job’s friends sat with him for seven days and seven nights before saying even  one word to him.  Merely being present and providing comfort is often all you need to do.

Stop the bleeding:  If you have the ability to intercede in a practical way in the situation, then block off the thing that is causing the immediate pain.  This may be offering help to get out of the situation that they are in.  This might be a medical reference, financial help, a friend who has walked the same path before.  Sometimes the wound will not be immediately repairable and it will continue to bleed.  Be encouraged that just being there provides wound dressing and provides your friend with strength to continue.

Move them:  Getting a new perspective or location can help in getting away from a bad situation.  Think of ways you can improve their perspective.  Get them involved in new activities.  Help them change their daily rituals and habits.  Find something new that will open their eyes to other things so they will stop focusing on the past and the pain.

Operating Room:  If the situation is truly serious, get them to the experts.  Don’t attempt to fix deeply rooted or potentially dangerous problems on your own.   Realize and admit that you are over your head.  Giving bad advice can actually be more damaging than the original wound.  Hand it off to an expert.

Most importantly pray!  Pray that the Lord would bring healing and restoration.  Pray with them.  Regardless of their level of faith, the vast majority of people will accept prayer and the act of prayer will help to build their faith in times when things seem to be falling apart.  The reassurance that the Lord is always there and loves them completely is an amazing comfort in a tough situation.

Pain will always be a part of life.  We must be ready to serve those who are hurting.  You don’t always need the answers.  Realize that being in a painful situation is often a very lonely place.  People will naturally avoid getting involved in painful situations, sometimes out of fear.  Just providing an ear to listen and companionship is often enough.  Comfort them.  Let them know that they are not alone.  Reach out- they need you!

Why is it so lonely when you are hurting?  Have you had circumstances where you wish you would have become involved?  Click on Comments and tell me your story!

Top of the Order

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.

Zambezi River- Zambia 2009

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!