The Time that is Given to us.
The Lord of the Rings, honestly one of most favorite movies. Bet you thought I was going to say book didn’t you. I’ve tried many times to read the book and only get to the end of book one and I’m done. I get exhausted trying to figure out the complex history of this world and all the characters who have so many names for one character! Why Tolkien, why? Edwin Friedmans book Failure of Nerve, struck a nerve for me and a quote from this “movie” came to my mind and it’s a conversation that Frodo and Gandalf are having as Gandalf is telling Frodo the history of how the ring came to Bilbo and now Frodo. After a treacherous tale,
Frodo states “I wish this ring had never come to me, I wish it need not have happened”.
“So do I,’ states Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”. 
Friedman’s book has hit several nerves for me, and I feel seen, and wish somethings have not come to me!
In full transparency I am in the midst a parenting crisis. I thought my youngest was finishing up his elementary year and headed to middle school, exactly when my older 2 sons started needing me less. We have been thrown into the deep end of mental health and behaviors (that I’m thinking is undiagnosed ADHD), but he is now paying very hard consequences. It has caused tears, extensions for my paper in other class as well as honest thoughts of leaving this program. My child comes first, and this book drilled right to the heart of the matter for me, and I am grateful. Divine providence. Before the book even starts, the introduction grabbed me by what I NEEDED TO HEAR AS A MOM, “Parents cannot produce change in a troubling child, no matter how caring, saavy, or intelligent they may be, until they become completely fed up with their child’s behavior”.  What an eye opener that made me think about how I maybe have allowed boundaries to be pushed too far for him. How has my empathy, exhaustion and apathy not given him the structure he’s needed…I have had a failure of nerve! Now I don’t say this in a self-pitying way, but with nerve to acknowledge my own mistakes. Pray for us.
I have just been through the toughest season of leadership I’ve ever experienced. The first year I was promoted as supervisor over my peers I hired my first two Chaplains who struggled with my leadership. My supervisor also struggled with me taking charge as she was used to being in charge and did not like having to include me within the leadership team. She 100% sabotaged me by telling my 2 new employees that I was not really their boss, she was, that I was just a lead Chaplain and not their supervisor. (Wrong, and she thankfully retired last spring). But it caused a wedge between me, and my newer employees and we had to start over with building trust. One is still working on that with me and the other left burning me down in the process, but thankfully my years of service and integrity allowed others to not take her words as anything true. “When creative, imaginative, and self-starting members of any organization are being sabotaged rather than supported, the poorly differentiated person “at the top” does not have to be in direct contact with the person being undercut.”  Lack of support was brutal and connects to the ideas we have been talking about in this class with mentoring, apprenticing, and above all a failure of Nerve. My supervisor had a failure of nerve to have the courage to share the leadership and to mentor me rather than sabotage me.
I was pleased to read an entire section dedicated to medicine. I know it is now known that I am a Hospice Chaplain, and my NPO is on this very topic. A failure of nerve to have the honest conversations as medical professionals to those with terminal illness in a way that is culturally competent, as all cultures have different ways of talking about dying. Friedman noted that physicians needed to become more aware of “focusing on the healing power contained within their own presence.” “How Physicians manage their own anxiety can be a vital component in a patients will and recovery, and it often influences, and is influenced by, how much they rely on or pursue the unending amount of data that modern medical technology is prepared to offer”. 
Medicine (and insurance companies) have a failure of nerve.
I wish such times have not come to me, but I pray for nerve with the time that is given to me.
 Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings, Great Britain, HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994. (50)
 Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. New York, Seabury Books, 2007. (8)
 Ibid, 15
 Ibid, 101
 Ibid, 101