Where health and leadership cross paths came to mind again as I was listening to Family Life Today, a radio broadcast hosted by Dennis Rainey.
In it he spoke about his experience amongst a group of combat veterans who were physically wounded in battle and those suffering from PTSD.
He asked them, “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?”
To his surprise, their answers do not have to do with valor in battle, but rather, out of 12 men, 11 men responded, as Dennis put it, “The most courageous thing they’d ever done was admitting they needed help—
“—that they needed another human being to engage with them around their need—that they weren’t able to fix this thing themselves. They needed another human being; and they needed God, in the process, to reach through…”
This interlude in their broadcast resonated with me so much, I wanted to write about it.
This is one area where having mentors, among other community, in your life can help a great deal.
It does seem like the darkest days in my life, whether it was failing to run my father’s business, or going down a non-fulfilling career path that was consuming my life, to being beaten down by a desire to get married and not finding the mate… each one had one key aspect: Feeling completely and utterly alone, alone in your struggle, alone in your battle.
Now, you might say, “You’re surrounded by family and friends and people, you’re a member of a church, come on, how can you feel utterly alone?”
That’s true, but that’s what happens. You’re fighting a battle alone in your mind.
Recognize it if your experiencing some deep seated trouble that you think is hopeless with no help in sight. Recognize it as an important part of your life that you will get through it!
In my case, at the risk of oversimplifying, it was often an expectation of myself that was not linked to reality of human suffering, but of some perfect concept that I believed my life must jump through.
I want to leave you with two thoughts, one is a lesson I learned and one is an exhortation to those who may be a mentor in someone’s life.
1) In my darkest moments in life, I was led to prayer, call it meditation if you will, call it meditation on your hands and knees, but it was only in that “forced” clearing of all the junk that was my mind, when in the deepest moments of anguish the small voice led me to a direction towards to a new goal, a new direction, or a reasoned key to unlock my dilemma.
2) If you are ever, seemingly out of the blue, directly approached by someone who asks for help… let’s say you are an elder in a church or other community, do not ignore that seemingly innocent request that someone may need your advise, especially if you know they just went through, let’s say for example, a death in the family.
Especially those who have the benefit of life experience, to borrow words from the great Les Brown, “Don’t be caught resting in the shade at the bottom of a valley when you could and should be [getting the most out out of life] charging up another mountain.”
You just might be called to be a mentor. Just being intentionally available could make an important difference in someone’s life.