My last promotion from being "last man standing" resulted in the Year of Hell. Out of a mixed sense of duty and opportunity, I took a job that was a political hotbed and a poor fit. Consciously, I was motivated by nothing more than a desire to stand in the gap, hold things together, and hopefully come through okay. Unconsciously, I probably wanted to play the hero. Neither worked, and I ended my tenure smoking at the edges and full of holes.
When I saw it all happening again, it hit some emotional triggers. I didn't want to make the same mistakes again; neither did I want to spend the forseeable future locked into my current station. Further, it would be inappropriate to discuss my situation and speculation with my friends at the church.
Thursday night I wound down the day watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Tapestry." In it, a mortally wounded Captain Picard is offered the chance to relive his life from a critical point, favoring a more responsible decision where he once rushed in, headlong and foolish. The result of that life was a Picard who never advanced beyond lieutenant, junior grade, who never showed any command potential or merited notice beyond being "punctual." The commitment of his life was to safety and mediocrity, and he'd spend the rest of his days languishing purposelessly in the blue shirt of his new station.
Strange place for me to look for guidance, but I'll take it. I've been in that blue shirt, too. It's been a blessing in so many ways. After the Year of Hell, I barely had the energy to get out of bed, much less take on any sort leadership. Learning lessons in servanthood has also been immesurably valuable (and I pray they will never end, even though my flesh rebels against them). Yet I also know that what I've been doing isn't me, isn't all of me, isn't my best and most fully expressed person.
Though the circumstances aren't ideal, this may be the opportunity I've needed and prayed for, even in the prayers that were only groans of vague dissatisfaction. Though it may sound arrogant, I am a leader. My gifts are best used in analysis, planning, and decision making, as well as in marshalling others toward shared goals. Even through lingering remnants of pain and fear, I can't let an opportunity to return to that kind of work pass. As Spock once said to his captain, "Commanding...is your first, best destiny. Anything else is a waste of material. "
So functionally, I'm back in command, although there are other arrangements to be made and the changes won't be announced for a while. The magnitude of some of the tasks ahead could be daunting if they weren't so very right in my heart. Almost to my shame, all the other emotions I felt upon hearing the news yesterday soon faded into a sense of renewal, of restoration. I noticed subtle but distinct changes in my thinking and my bearing as the day wore on. I took off the blue shirt and donned the red one. I am myself again.