Most Americans want the same things – Stability, to feel loved and accepted, to provide for their families, and to educate their children. The rub is that we all have different ideas for how to get there. Enter the need for a leader.
Leaders work in teams, but for the time they are in a leadership position, their overall vision influences the direction and behavior of constituents. A leader’s influence on the direction of an organization is like the light from headlights on a car. In the dark, the light exposes the path. The driver can always decide to change direction, but the light determines what the driver and passengers see. Mocking a person with a disability, demeaning women, and putting walls up to keep people out are all experiences that have been made visible in our path. We’re already growing weary from these story lines, right? The temptation is there to grow desensitized to these prejudices that unravel progress. Imagine what we could become desensitized to over four years. It takes more courage to be humble than it does to use fear as a leadership tactic. Donald Trump wears his hatred of losing as a badge of honor. If we use that metric, there’s never been anyone more cowardly running for President of the United States than Donald Trump.
We place our successes and failures for the next four years on the shoulders of the President of the United States. Even at the highest office, and even with the best intentions, one member of humanity can accomplish only a finite amount. As a Catholic, The Prayer of Oscar Romero, originally composed by Bishop Ken Untener, reminds me that our work cannot be completed by a single person, or in one lifetime.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
In this sense, we all bear the responsibility of defining our future. People, and the health of our relationships with one another, have more power to influence our future than policy.