The conversation was filled with hope and potential. We talked of what might be; of change and innovation. As we explored the different ways the organization looked at the days ahead, I asked an innocent question.
“What is going to be different in the future?”
“What do you mean?”
“The potential of what we are talking about is endlessly exciting. In order to achieve it, something and or someone will need to be different. I am curious about what you think that might be.”
The immediate answer was a polite dance for time to think of how to respond to the question. As we talked about the approach to change, I realized that we were talking about aspirations. There was no indication that change was embraced or even valued. It was difficult to imagine what was going to happen that would help this community reach its goals. Everything indicated that yesterday was the reflection of tomorrow. More of the same, a repeating cycle of delivery and performance.
I still do not have an answer. At the doorstep of a new year, I hear the question as one that I should wrestle with. What is going to be different in my life today and tomorrow?
There are examples of communities taking on the challenge. One writer notes that they repeatedly challenged themselves to move beyond the things that were not taking them towards their goal. In noting that change is ongoing, the writer noted that “this is exactly the same program of these latest infiltrators: dirty sex, rule and rulers thrown out, glory dragged in the mud.” (Jude 1.8) The abandoned the negative to embrace the positive.
I hear an invitation to be more today than I was yesterday. It is a calling worthy of the gods, yet it does require something from me. I will need to accurately see myself in the mirror. I will need to let go of the negative in my life and embrace my aspirations. Most importantly, the way I live will tell the story. I hope it is different.