Respect the Power

Yesterday in the middle of a conference call, sticky, ugly, muddy water started gushing around the cracks in the bottom of the outside door into my basement office.

With hands in the air–and reminding myself that I hadn’t muted my phone!–my husband and I scrambled to grab towels (him), dirty or available clothing (me), and the huge stash of Bounty paper towels in the basement storage space.

Imagine the dialogue–“Oh, no, you don’t” as I slapped a tea towel on a pool of water seeping from under a fully soaked bath towel. “No, no, no, no, no,” and a wad of Bounty became whole rolls wedged into the door frame, turned over when one side was soaked, squeezed, and returned to continue the fight.

And just when I thought I had stemmed the tide, I saw it. Rivulets of water at the opposite end of the room, moseying from underneath the now-defeated laminate into the unfinished part of the basement, and into the crawl space where the Christmas decorations live.

With a mad dash to move the Christmas decorations to higher and safer ground, I had to relinquish control. I finally realized that there was little more I could do than clean up and respect the power of the river of water that a fast moving storm had created in my yard and then my basement.

As a sometime liturgist and catechist, I talk a lot about the power of symbols–water, light, fire–and both the good and bad they can do. Hence, their power.

Yesterday was a brief reminder that sometimes the only thing we as leaders can do is respect the power of nature, and not try to control it. At least, not now. Sometimes things are just bigger and more powerful than we are. And that’s okay.

Our basement will live to see another day–probably with a new floor. And so will I, a little worn out, but still here, still ready, still respectful.

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