I spent the day at a “low ropes course” with the UB students (a note: While not terribly challenging, I’d hate to see the “high ropes course”). If there’s one thing I hate it’s looking like an idiot and I did my share of that a number of times today. My foot dragged on the ground during the rope swing. The hood of my sweatshirt tripped the “spider web maze” (I lost use of my right arm as a penalty because of that!) and I had a hard time on the wire balance although our guide told us that we were awesome at that. Even the things that I usually do well got me confused because I was so far out of my comfort zone. My talk was fine but I mismanaged the timing on the discussion and put us behind time. I beat myself up for that especially.
A spiritual director once told me, “It would be a shame if you thought you had to do it all, because you can’t!” I think I needed that reminder. The good news is that my colleagues were understanding of my inadequacies today and the students showed all of us that they respect and are grateful for our service as ministers. So while, I didn’t feel all that comfortable outside my comfort zone, I’ve grown to love the day for what it was and what I needed to learn myself. That is, that we really are a team. My role is to not merely do the things I do well all the time but to also risk a bit as well. I need to show the students my own vulnerabilities, something that I’m actually pretty good at when I’m speaking or preaching, because I’m in control and perhaps thinking of these team building days as an opportunity to rejoice that “the old man” isn’t quite ready to go down quietly and also to show the students that I can risk looking like a fool, so that their work in helping us reach more students might seem that much easier than a 41 year old man trying to steady himself on a wire.
Christ has indeed called me to leadership and to preach to these students on how they can be leaders. Sometimes the best preaching comes with few words and more actions, actions that lead us to become vulnerable for others.
And it is always there that we meet Jesus and in our vulnerability we are changed.