In the video, Michael Schaefer and Dean Potter create a scene of a solitary man walking the highline at Cathedral Peak. As Potter begins his unaided walk, you hear the camera operator take deep, anxious but meditative breaths. And I breathe with him, reminded of highlines I, too, have walked at night alone.
The Greatest Battles a leader faces are not what you might think, or even hope for ~ that is to say, fights full of spectacle and grandeur, sweeping battle fields surging with vengeful enemies, and all the world watching as the opposing captain is at last thrown down.
No. The greatest battles a leader faces are private affairs, most often in the dead loneliness of middle night, with no one but the Spirit standing between you and the great void.
But that is precisely where the real stuff of faith is found, where authentic faith, and real personhood, either miscarries or is born to Life.
As I watch, I’m reminded of these words from Emerson, which I have found instructive at key moments in my leadership journey.
“Our strength grows out of weakness. The indignation which arms itself with secret forces does not awaken until we are pricked and stung and sorely assailed. A great man is always willing to be little. Whilst he sits on the cushion of advantages, he goes to sleep. When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something; he has been put on his wits, on his manhood; he has gained facts; learns his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit; has got moderation and real skill. The wise man throws himself on the side of his assailants. It is more his interest than it is theirs to find his weak point. The wound cicatrices and falls off from him like a dead skin when they would triumph, lo! he has passed on invulnerable.” ~ Emerson
Fight on, leaders. Walk the line that you alone are called to cross. Believe.