As far as I can remember I only spoke with Sister Rose Mary Dougherty once. Our fifteen-minute conversation has influenced me for almost two decades. One definition observation was simply that a group or community was a composition of the individuals within it. The combination of colors, textures, and nuances was uniquely defined by what each person brought. While one could influence the other, the group would retain a personality that would change in ways that reflected the group’s decision.
As I try to influence a large group of individuals, I recognize a natural preference to motivate and drive. It is a contemporary variation on command and control. For a limited time, especially in some groups with motivation mechanisms, you can sustain the aspirations. It never lasts! A group is what it is.
David left me with the warning; “Do you think you can mess with the dreams of the poor? You can’t, for God makes their dreams come true.” (Psalm 14.6) I hear it, I see it, but do I know the meaning of the warning?
I am reminded of a wonderful evening with Aliki at a three-star French restaurant in the Swiss Alps. The three-portioned crème brulee desert had two flavors in each. The chef challenged us to guess what they were. Each bite was a taste of heaven. The first flavor in each was fairly easy; the second near impossible! We only got one of the three correct. I remember not knowing but loving the taste and experience.
Influencers are catalysts that change the outcome. Imagine a world where you and I were catalysts of compassion and accelerators of mercy. What if the community reached its aspirations, loving the process and experience, without being able to guess the influencers? Would we move forward with the lingering memories of a restaurant in a small mountain village that delivered something beyond imagination?
Life offers an opportunity to inject hope and possibilities in everything we do. There are no limits. There are no promises that others will know that it was us. I want this chance.