Today was a “fumbling” kind of day. I made mistakes. I communicated poorly. I might have jeopardized an important business relationship because I treated someone rather brusquely before I realized what I was doing. On top of that, I had to have a couple of tough conversations with people who work for me. Feelings were quite probably hurt.
The mantle of leadership felt too heavy on my shoulders today. It was the kind of day that made me wish (at least momentarily) that I could throw off the mantle and just count widgets for awhile. Maybe just for a day or two. At least then I wouldn’t have to make decisions or walk tenderly around relationships – I’d just count. Counting I can do. In fact I’m quite competent at it. 1. 2. 3… This leadership stuff… I’m just not feeling quite as competent today.
A few days ago, when I was cleaning up a corner of the basement for “the renovation project that will see my hair turning grey before it’s finished”, I came across an envelope addressed to me in my father’s unmistakable handwriting. I think there were only two or three times I ever got anything in the mail from my dad. I wrote about another one of those times here. I could never throw any of them out, but I don’t quite know what to do with them, so they have a way of popping up now and then when I’m cleaning. When I got home from work today, I re-read the one I’d most recently found. I needed it.
On a little pink scrap of paper (something that had been discarded from the Auction Mart where he worked – my dad was into recycling long before it was trendy), was this very brief note.
“The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.” Proverbs 23:24
I don’t remember what preceded this note. The postmark says 1999, but I can’t remember if there was something significant that happened that year that made my dad send me a note that, in his own way, said “I’m proud of you. You are a wise child.” Perhaps I’d accomplished something that he wanted to honour me for. Or perhaps it was a time when I was filled with self-doubt and he thought I needed to hear that I was capable and that he believed in me.
I don’t remember how it made me feel to get that simple note in the mail. I’m sure it choked me up a little. I only know how it felt to find it this weekend, four years after he died. And I know how it felt to read it again after a day that left me feeling anything but “wise”.
I think I’ll frame it and put it on my desk. Tomorrow when I go back to work, I’m going to need a little boost to help me move forward. If my dad believed I was wise, then who am I to doubt it?