I thought I knew what I was doing. Henry knew better. As my confidence grew, so did his worry. Even as I encountered my first small bumps on the rocks, he was on the telephone. As he demanded my attention over lunch, I knew I had to listen. What followed forever changed the course of my life.
In hindsight, the change was not simply because Henry cared for me in a knowledge-filled way that nobody else in my life could. The course correction did not come from the knowledge that came from reading the books Henry mandated I put on my reading list, though they did help me see the world differently. Even the blunt forced lesson in corporate politics was not the driver for change, even though I was sure that was the single most important lesson I would take away from that lunch.
Everything changed in my life during that lunch in a less than memorable place. Candidly, I have no idea where we went or the food that went along with it. What I do know about that moment in time is the following. First, a person with greater wisdom than me was engaged in my life. He had earned the right to speak. Second, a person chose to speak because he knew I would listen. Third, when the time was right, he spoke and I listened. In hindsight, engaged compassion coupled with a soul’s willingness to be greater than she/he was/is will always give birth to wonder. With truth, wonder finds hope and a child is born.
I will always have time for the Henry in my life. Right now, I count myself fortunate enough to have several Henrys giving voice to God’s thoughts, nudges, and direction. If you do not have a Henry in your life, find one. God’s voice is a powerful force for good. “They weren't thirsty when he [God] led them through the deserts. He made water pour out of the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed.” (Isaiah 48.21) What you need, God will provide.
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