“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
From its very first sentence, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina made young Teddy think. He was trying not to. He, not unlike the mass of men in our day or in Thoreau’s, was leading a life of quiet desperation. You see, young Teddy had already lost his father, mother, and his lover, Alice, who had just given birth to their first child. Young Teddy ran from his feelings and fueled himself with busyness. He fled his east coast confines for the open spaces of the West and took up residence in the Badlands. He ranched and rode his horse. He worked. It was a good distraction, for awhile.
Eventually, however, young Teddy realized his running away wasn’t the road toward his opus. So, he wandered back east and found solace and friendship in his childhood friend, Edith. Three weeks later this friendship turned to an engagement of sorts. Young Teddy secretly asked Edith to marry him. His newfound love opened his heart to his life’s work. He was a progressive reformer and wanted to do his part to bridge the gap between rich and poor. Teddy wanted to hold big business to a better standard. So, in 1886, he would begin a long and life changing career in politics. He was 28. For 22 years he would serve his country, eventually in its highest office as President. President Roosevelt, that is.
Everyday in BTL practice, we aim at embracing paradox. We believe faith and doubt are bookends – tough and tender too. We connect and we care for each other. We challenge too. We don’t run from feelings and we don’t run over the vulnerable either. We make people do what they can and most don’t like being pushed. We focus on the few and, just like you, get bummed out by the very ones we’re trying to help. Yes, friend, it sucks to lead. Do it anyway.
It feels good to embrace the paradoxical truth about family too. Happy ones are not always happy are they. Marinate in the blessings from our creator and this great gift of His creation. Marinate in the blessings not the bummers. There will always be terrorists, competitors, and those that stand in opposition to your way. Remember, you are not in their hands, you are not their plaything. You are in God’s hands. Marinate on whose you are, friend. Focus on the few. Change your mind. Now you’re ready. Go on, like young Teddy and make your body, mind, and spirit do what it can. Serve your family, team, and extended community. Do more than you think. Do more. Good.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Meeks)…