A friend of mine quietly left a church staff position because, as he said, “I realized I had the power to split the church, but did not have the power to heal it.”
That was over ten years ago, and the trajectory of his life in the ensuing years was positive, healing and hopeful in another community.
A couple of years ago I was on a retreat. As I returned late at night from a prayer walk, I came upon four deer. Three bolted, one remained. We stood silently, about 15 feet apart, looking, watching, waiting. After several minutes, my deer friend flipped up his tail and off he went, no longer my friend, but now retreating in deer anxiety. A white-tailed deer… What would it be like to be named for my fear response?
We all have power, the ability to effect change. Sometimes it is institutional power, sometimes personal power. In any case it is a stewardship that will be used, for good or ill. What makes me safe to effect change, or to say it another way, to wield power?
First, am I aware of my own inner being. Am I aware of my motivations, light and dark, good and bad, self-protective and self-sacrificing? Second, do I care? Or, better, what do I care about? I can be fully aware of myself, yet if I only care about myself, there is no chance that I will use power for greater good. If I care about others, then I am free to use my power to positively effect change. Simply, my use of power reflects my love.
Will I share my power for good. Will I actually use my voice for the voiceless, my resources for the poor, my health for the healing of others? Will I share my power with others. Will I act in community, collaboratively using power and giving influence and authority where it makes caring sense to do so?
Awareness of surroundings and awareness of myself combine to either express anxiety in retreat, or caring in embrace. Awareness, proper love, power to heal.