Of the many conributions Renner & D’Souza have made to my leadership philosophy this semester, one stands out: the future is shaped by the leader’s response to the unknown.
This past weekend, I took some time of silent reflection in the moutains of southwest Orgeon. There were three locations I wanted to explore as I imagined that stillness within each would offer diverse gifts. The first location was a paticular snow-capped summit. The second was a mid-mountain convergene of trials. The third was the creek bed at the moutain’s base.
From the summit, I considered the work that it takes to achieve such a view. With goal setting, careful preparation, and step after arduous step, I stood on top of what once seemed insurmountable. The view was stunning, but I had to acknowledge that its brilliance was influenced by the work that it had taken to get there. With hours to linger, I embraced the gifts of beauty and silence and accomplishment. I recongized that I wasn’t the first to achieve this summit and that I wouldn’t be the last. But in that moment in time, I was the only one who was there seeing the view as it had never been and never would be again.
Hours later and from the creek bed below, I listend to its gentle gurgle and tried to imagine the volume of its landscape-altering power when it was a larger river. What now was but a trickle, this body of water had once given shape to the valley. I reflected on all of the river and current analagies that have arisen throughout the semester. With hours to linger, I considered Jesus as the living water and truest source of my leadership vision and passion.
It was at the mid-mountain location where Renner and D’Souza’s writings became illuminated. While there, I discoverd a location where seven games trails collided into one before branching back out into seven distnict paths. I selected a location just above the trail system where I could sit and wonder about what the Spirit was saying to me through the landscape. After some time, I recongized that many trials led to the same location. It was a destination of sorts, but not the destination. From the convergence point, two decisions needed to be made: the first was whether to settle or continue the journey; the second was which path to take.
Since I was the only mammal in the area (as far as I could tell), I sensed that the most common decision was to continue the journey. It was a beautiful location and one in which, no doubt, the lives and stories of a diversity of creatures had intersected. It was a waypoint, but it wasn’t where any of us were going.
Observing the trails that branched onward from the convergence point, I recongized that, while they all moved in different diretions, each continued upward. Once the first decision was made to continue rather than to settle, the next decision would shape the future of creature. The path that one would take would lead them into a distinct unknown. The experience of unknown that each trail provided would likely undo and remake pilgrim. There was no “right” way. Instead, there were multiple ways.
I didn’t have the time to take each of the seven trails, but had I, I imagine that each would have eventually led to the summit. I wondered if the journey thorugh the unknown that each path provided would have shaped me and my future differently.