I subscribe to the daily meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society for some interesting insights on life from a spiritual perspective. Today's message really struck a chord:
The Authority of Compassion
Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are "subject" to authority. The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose "subjects" we are willing to be.
It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.
As I post this I've just returned from a PR industry event, and I noticed, despite not wanting to, the superficiality of the industry. Not to say that most of the people I met aren't nice people, but I didn't get the sense I was meeting the real person most of the time.
How does this relate to what I've posted? Because sometimes our perceptions of success, like authority, are of something that is necessarily far away and hard to reach. At least that's the impression I got. I'd like to think there's a different way.