I spent the day helping a friend go through the belongings of a dear loved one who has passed. It’s tough going. One might think it’s the expensive toys, gadgets, and gizmos which you’d want to hold on to but instead, it’s the little things; sheets of paper, old license plates, CDs, notepads. Items which wouldn’t sell at a yard sale or purchased at Goodwill are of immense value, a treasure to the ones who remain.
Death is often an open wound. Scabs may form, some healing might occur, but grasping at past memories and experiences, strains and pulls apart the wound and the pain, heartbreak of loss returns. Its hard letting go. It’s difficult to say; “goodbye.” but death demands we do it again and again in many ways, on many occasions and you wonder if it will ever be the last time.
Moving on requires that one live open-handed, no clinging to earthly, temporal things, allowing the shared life of the one who is gone to be enough.
“One must be chaste, sober and merciful.
Exalt mercy above judgment,
that one may obtain mercy.
Love the brothers and sisters.
In administering correction
one should act prudently and not go to excess,
lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust
one breaks the vessel.
Keep one’s own frailty ever before their eyes
and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken.”
Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 64
No Earthly Good –
I believe this is such a beautiful description of leadership. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this section of the Rule of Saint Benedict (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_Saint_Benedict) over the years that I’ve been a Benedictine Oblate, (http://www.osb.org/obl/intro.html) but each time it speaks to me in the deepest of places.
I think it stirs my spirit today because of the leadership changes we will soon have in our nation. No matter which side of the political landscape you occupy, it’s hard to make an argument that our President-Elect personifies the above description, or is a Christlike model.
This worries me. It worries me because of what it emboldens in others. Too often, harsh, rash, unbalanced leadership doesn’t cause people to reflect but to react. If you’re for a more “strong, forceful, expect respect, my way or the highway” type of leading and now witness that it can take you to the most powerful position on the planet you might be tempted to adopt the; “might equals right” attitude you are witnessing. If you’re on the other side you may take a forceful, coercive stance to object and resist.
I worry about my brothers and sisters who are so politically minded they aren’t much Kingdom good. They don’t, can’t see Jesus in our new leadership and don’t seem to be looking very hard.
So, I worry, reminded that the Master says; “Do not worry.” Though our Teacher does not personify worldly power his Kingdom will never pass away.