Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
An Hour with a Gandalf
January 28, 2007Posted by on
If you visit any major airport, you will have plenty of chances to see airplanes ascend into the sky. They are just beginning their journey. For a commercial airliner to accomplish its purpose, it must land at its destination, preferably on time. It must arrive.
I haven’t “arrived” yet. Not in traveling, but in life. It seems that in the back ours minds, there is this hope that one day (this side of heaven) we will fully become who we always dreamed of becoming. We think it will happen once we land that dream job or gain certain recognition or finally begin to offer our energy and time sacrificially in the way we once witnessed our heroes do. They have incredible impact on people. When I have the kind of impact they do, then I will have “arrived.”
With this somewhere in the back of my mind, I sat under a mentor of mine yesterday. I think of him as a spiritual guru. Every white hair on his head is an indication of the wisdom he holds. He knows and understands the heart better than I know the alphabet. We were discussing manhood and a book I had just finished reading, The Wild Man’s Journey. The author, Richard Rohr, conducts “Rites of Passage” retreats, designed to spiritually initiate men into a deeper masculinity. My mentor began telling me about them. Before I could ask any questions or comment, he began talking about applying. Not me applying, but him. He is over 55 years old.
As I left our time together, it hit me. I envision myself “arriving” when I become a guru like him. Then I will be an expert on life. Rather than focusing this last paragraph on my own foolishness, let’s talk about his humility. My attempt to put words to the weight of this man’s life is futile. He could be directing and teaching retreats, speaking to other young men on the process of becoming a man. He could be authoring his own book on initiation and rites of passage. Many people I know would be happy to possess half of his wisdom. Yet, the guru is humble enough to know that there is always something more to learn.
“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday” –Abraham Lincoln
“When a leader stops learning, his development as a leader ends.” –Howard Hendricks