Standing in the Tragic Gap

By the tragic gap I mean the gap between the hard realities around us and what we know is possible — not because we wish it were so, but because we’ve seen it with our own eyes.” —Parker J. Palmer


This week, more destruction, loss and pain. More reminders of the frailty of the human condition, of the terrible pain we are capable of inflicting on one another. I am tired of swinging from exhausted cynicism to unrealistic idealism. I continue to challenge myself to stand in the middle of the uncertainty, to learn to pause in the ‘tragic gap.’ That challenge and that searching have led me back, once again, to the teaching of Parker Palmer.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.

 

Back to Basics

I spent about four hours today applying a fresh coat of stain to our fence. I completed about 25% of the job. We have a lot of fencing and I’ll spend a good part of Sunday knocking out another big section.

But today, what I felt with each pass of the brush, and as each foot of board went from dull to bright, from dirty to clean, was the pleasure of being present to something so common, so basic.

I have been glued to the news these past few weeks, relentlessly refreshing and devouring the latest take on the latest twists and turns. I didn’t realize how consumed I was by it all until I was outside in the breeze of a mild October day simply, steadily painting my fence.

Today was both reprieve and reminder. I don’t know if I have enough fencing or enough stain to reset myself completely but I’m going to make the most of what I’ve got. And I am reminded how quickly I can get out of balance and how necessary it is to find simple ways to reconnect to what is, in fact, within my control.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.

The Contract

I received this poem today and it strikes me as a fine way to close the week, to aid in our recovery this weekend, and to support us in our efforts to continue the work we are here to do.  Lead well.

The Contract

A word from the led

And in the end we follow them –
not because we are paid,
not because we might see some advantage,
not because of the things they have accomplished,
not even because of the dreams they dream
but simply because of who they are:
the man, the woman, the leader, the boss
standing up there when the wave hits the rock,
passing out faith and confidence like life jackets,
knowing the currents, holding the doubts,
imagining the delights and terrors of every landfall:
captain, pirate, and parent by turns,
the bearer of our countless hopes and expectations.
We give them our trust. We give them our effort.
What we ask in return is that they stay true.

– William Ayot

DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.