Sunday, February 18, 2007

Practice, Practice, Practice

This week I skipped town for a continuing education program in Richmond, VA. The program is titled “Extraordinary Leadership Training.” Now I signed up, not because I am or will ever become an extraordinary leader, but I’d like to become a better leader. The three year program will teach me about Bowen Family Systems Theory. The theory challenges me to work on myself and my family connections. I can sum it up briefly and inadequately as “learn, learn, learn, practice, practice, practice.

The program has taught me that leaders offer non-anxious presence and by doing so reduces the anxiety of the entire group. Little did I know how much I’d get to practice on my trip home. Fortunately for me, my colleague traveling with me, is well versed in offering a non-anxious presence.

Let me simply say, we arrived at the Richmond airport over 2 hours before our scheduled departure. We were flying to Cincinnati, in order to fly to Boston. (I could write a series of blogs regarding the special logic of air travel including simple ideas such as: to travel east you must first go west and it is cheaper to fly round trip than one way. I believe air travel log makes up a entirely separate branch of philosophy, logic, mathematics and physics!)

Upon arrival I went to a handy check-in kiosk only to discover it could not find our reservation. So we stood in line. After 20-30 minutes of non movement in the line, the long line, security personnel asked everyone on our side of the terminal to move to the other side of the building. We waited for probably 45 minutes before we were allowed to return. Two hours later we had missed our flight, while waiting in line but had lots of practice of non-anxious presence.

After enjoying a night (well really about 2/3rds of a night) at a local motel, compliments of Delta Airlines our saga continued. I’ll spare the rest of the details, but it proved to be a wonderful opportunity practicing staying calm, focused and finding humor in the entire experience.

So where am I headed with my ramblings? How often do we approach the challenges of life as an opportunity to practice what we believe? Do you see each day as a chance to become a little better person? I’d like to say I see each day this way, but one of my principles for living is to tell the truth. Still, I’d like to approach each day as a learning opportunity and each challenge as a chance to grow a little more.

The same is true for our faith. How do saints become such wonderful, solid, grounded persons who seem to exude the love of God? They practice. Their lives and ours are made up of individual opportunities to live what we truly believe. We become a sum of those opportunities.

This week I’m going to practice, practice, practice being a follower of Jesus Christ. How about you?

Grace & peace,


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