There is part of me that wants to say “d*&$# him”. His role as a father figure, mentor, and leader was critically important. I also know others contributed. There were four, no five of us that worked with him as a small community. The group was the size of a small team. At the time the word felt incomplete.
In looking back, my experiences in working within this community defined ideal teamwork. Everything that one hoped would be there was. The items that you fear would creep in never did. Harmony was a norm. Demanding, challenging, and pressure inside and out were natural. Sometimes we excelled. We also failed at times. What I feared when I was invited to be a part of it all never materialized. I initially kept my guard up for a cynical stab in the back. When I was protected and guarded instead, l sent my internal defenses on holiday. I worried about keeping my share of credit where credit was due. As I won for being a part of the team, I realized everyone has something to be proud of.
The odd part of the team was obvious to outsiders. We were different. We were not a little different; we represented different cultures, languages, and personalities. While there was as least one characteristic that each shared with another, there was little connection to the outsider.
My anger in looking back is one of perspective. Even at the time I knew I was part of something special. The “but” comes from the observation that I did not know how special it was! It has taken me years to see that we knew from our hearts out that our differences and diversity created the potential for more. The model was always with me; one “can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body.” (1 Corinthians 12.12a)
I tasted something wonderful. I want more.