“God loves us; we need only to summon up the humility to allow ourselves to be loved.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Prior to the birth of their first grandchild, my parents would often get asked what they wished to be called by their future grandchildren. My mom would proudly burst out with the name she called her beloved grandmother. My dad would do his shtick. My dad always has a shtick. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He would answer very nonchalantly, “I want to be Whoosie.” The person would undoubtedly give him a puzzled look and ask why, believing perhaps we had some type of Eastern European heritage. He would smile and say, “I want to be retired, living somewhere warm playing golf, and not be anywhere near diapers. So when the grandkids see me, they’ll say, ‘Who’s He?” My dad does love golf…a lot. But anyone who would see him today with his now 6 grandchildren would tell you, he loves them more than even golf and he’s anyone but “Whoosie” to them.
Watching him attempt to teach the almost 3-year old to swing a golf club, I thought about the people we try to present ourselves to be versus who we actually are, or more importantly, who we are called to be. The first actors in the amphitheaters in Ancient Greece wore masks for two reasons: to project sound and to protect their identity – to play the part. As a leader, regardless of how I try to project people to know me, is it authentic to how they experience me? Is it really the part I play in their lives? And if it is, does how they experience me support the part the Lord wants me to play? “Pop-Pop” as he is called, might still project (rather authentically) that he won’t go anywhere near diapers, but for anything else, the kids know who they can always count on to show up.