It is rare for me, not to mention difficult, to simply participate in something. Whether it’s my role at work or my role at home, the rhythm of life right now seems to be drive, drive, drive. Presenting, reviewing, disciplining, discussing, whiteboarding, deciding, negotiating, responding – there’s always something that has to be done. So, as I prepared for four days of being a participant observer in the back of the room at three different gatherings that all, coincidently, took place in Dallas during the same week, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I didn’t need to carry any handouts or materials and yet my bag was heavier. It was stuffed with all the things I would get done with my “free time.” My mind, finally relieved from having to anticipate or strategize, didn’t actually slow down. It seemed to speed up with anxiety of what I wasn’t thinking about, critiques of what I was observing, fidgeting with whatever devices were in arm's length. On the third day of my failed leadership detox, I rushed to Eucharistic Adoration that was offered at the Amazing Parish Conference, and in my mind I asked, “Why can’t life just let me breathe for a moment?” As soon as I locked eyes on Jesus in the Eucharist, the answer came back, “It’s not life’s fault Dan, it’s your pride. Just listen.” By unconsciously prioritizing that email I could send or the report that I could finish over what I said was my purpose for being present, I was missing opportunities to hear what the Lord might be saying through those gathered in the room. Thankfully, in that encounter, the Lord allowed me to open my eyes, ears, and heart to the goodness in each one of those experiences I had last week. We may lead well from the front of the room, but maybe a better metric is, how well do we do from the back?

by Daniel Cellucci

April 30, 2018

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