As I introduce myself into a new organization, the conversations repeatedly reinforce a common theme. The theme has three elements. We are very busy with a lot of change. We need help. We are not sure what direction we are going in except we are headed for where we need to be.
Initially, my reaction was one of surprised. How could any organization allow the situation to get to this point? To an outsider, the theme implies chaos. Knowing that one needs help often comes when one is metaphorically drowning. Repeated debates about the future can reflect a disagreement on the present. Even a confident statement that we are all heading in the same direction indicates that there is a shared threat of blind assumption.
The overwhelming quantity of opinions forced me to reflect on my role in the moment at hand. I am not confident that my role will have a successful outcome. I am certain that my role can make a difference. As I looked at how others have responded to the mixed outlook for the future, I find hope in Paul’s response to his situation.
“I do know that it won’t be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little.” (Acts 20.23)
The punch line that “it matters little” is a turning point. My situation is significantly easier than many. Others worry about where they are going to sleep. I know I will have clean sheets to come home to. Others are not sure when they will have their next meal. I am able to eat at will. Others are not sure that the water they drink is safe. I am.
The days ahead are going to be difficult. In the scheme of things, it matters little.
In each moment, I have an opportunity to help, give direction, and work to reach a shared goal. It is an opportunity I can see and touch. Even when things are confused, we can be the difference for others.