Out running again tonight. Nothing too strenuous so my mind started to wander into the upcoming semester. Some of those thoughts filled me with excitement. A new year brings new relationships, new challenges, a fresh start–good stuff! But in honesty, there were other thoughts that passed through my mind that weren’t so pleasant.
This is the beginning of my 10th year @ AU. I know the start of the semester will include things like 60-70 hour weeks, organizational nightmares, bureaucratic red tape, unending small talk, and relational disappointment–not fun. All that and then recalling that this can be a thankless job–yeah, I was feeling sorry for myself.
Enter the Holy Spirit. I was climbing one of the more serious hill in Tenleytown and sherpas popped into my mind. That’s right, the Spirit turned my attention to those hardy Tibetans that help people to the top of Mt Everest. I specifically thought about how I don’t know much about them. Here is an incredible group of men and a few women who have climbed to the top of the world time and time again and received only a small share of the glory. They’re the quintessential supporting cast. Their job is to provide the expertise and equipment that’s necessary for the climb and point the way toward the goal. When they do their job well, the results are spectacular, but if they fail, things can go badly (to say the least).
I’m not sure I would call myself a “spiritual sherpa” (high altitude makes me dizzy), but the Spirit’s point wasn’t lost on me. The students in my ministry are on a journey. They’re forming adult understanding about many things not the least of which is faith. It’s a tough climb. My job is to provide the tools and advice at the appropriate time to help them reach their goal. I point the way. This year I’ll try to remember my glory is not getting to the top, but guiding others. That may not put me in the limelight all that often, but bright lights just show off my gray hair anyway.