Friday, November 12, 2010

The Lesson According to Geese

Fridays with Susan...

I love how God weaves all kinds of life lessons for us into his creation.

Like Paula expressed a week or so ago, in her post  Perspective , I have always loved geese.  It's not unusual to catch me running outside of a fall or spring morning in my sock feet on damp cold ground to answer the call of a passing, honking "V". 
When geese are flying south for the winter in their V formations, each "follower" goose derives the benefit of the one flying just ahead of it. Aerodynamics work to form a bit of a slipstream behind each successive goose flapping its wings that makes it easier for the one behind it. The leader has the hardest job. With no-one to follow they have to flap all the harder than those geese who get to be the followers.

When the lead goose begins to tire, it will fall back in the formation and let one of the followers take the lead for a while. To be able to make it for the long haul, the leader has to have the wisdom to know when to fall back and let the energy of others support them for a while in their role...

It was my first day back from vacation and I was feeling as disoriented as someone lost in a blizzard and began attempting to slog through drifts of paperwork and "issues" that were waist deep and weighing me down.  I came into the staff office but I wasn't ready to meet with someone there who was waiting to meet with me.  I had nothing to give, no strength to lead with.

Jenn met me head on.  As I walked through the door she met me with a string of positive words that warmed my heart and gave me sudden strength.  As I listened to her encourage and bless, I realized that in that moment she was the leader as God gave me the good sense to fall back and get behind her for a bit.  Keeping my mouth shut and following her that morning got me through the day without falling prey to an avalanche of negativity and discouragement.

I actually felt like I was a terrible leader that day.  I didn't have what it takes, did not have the strength to say the right things, be the right person.  But someone I was leading did...  Failed again.

But then I remembered the geese...

It actually takes a good leader to know when to fall back sometimes and let others use their gifts to create that slipstream while they fly a bit easier and have a chance regain their strength or bide a bit of time until the pressures ease off.  It really is okay not to be the leader ALL the time.  It really is...

8 comments:

Karebear said...

I'm glad that you and Jenn can soar the heights together... it is fun to also be one of your wingmen... may God give you the strength and courage to lead on the long flights.

Belinda said...

I feel like I have definitely slipped to the back this week! It was good to be reminded that the geese give us an important lesson. It is never about us as individuals, but about the Body. Sometimes one part hurts, but then they all do, and pull hard to support the one that is weak at the moment. You are a great leader Susan, for learning and sharing The Lesson.

Marilyn said...

Wally and I joined a care group this week. It's the first time in....decades!....neither one of us is leading. Wonderfully restorative! Of course the people leading (one teaching, one hosting) did THEIR jobs very well. I think that helped. It's hard to be a leader sitting back when there is a leadership void.

Thank you for the geese analogy.

Angcat said...

What a great post and so relevant for some things I'm working through now.

Thank you for this insight.

From another wing-woman.

:-)

Janet Sketchley said...

This is the sort of lesson we need to hear every so often. And "it really is okay not to be the leader ALL the time"... we don't particularly appreciate the people who try to be, who don't let anyone else have a chance to lead...

A good leader trains her wingfolk so they can be leaders too. Sounds like some success happening here!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Sometimes I do my best leading by following.

coffeetalk said...

As a fellow "geese follower", I have learned much from them. Sometimes their "V" looks more lopsided than other times, but I trust they alway get where they're going. Sometimes the formation is almost unrecognizable, except for the sound of their voices. Sometimes my journey does not look as I imagined it would, but I trust that I will get to where I need to be all the same.

Belinda said...

So many lessons to be learned from the amazing sight of geese in formation. Thank you all for your comments on Susan's post.