A Leader’s Lament
“His intelligence and bearing mark him as blessed. Tall and sleek, he walks with an air of confidence, self assurance. His attire is strictly GQ communicating a sense of class, sophistication and timeless elegance. His appearance is youthful, full of vim and vigor.
Most rest on his every word. Center stage is his to command. He draws a crowd wherever he goes and is on everyone’s A- list. Oh yeah, this is an up and comer.
But on the inside he is conflicted, racked by doubt too difficult to ignore. He sits on high, atop a perch whose foundation is so shaky, so unstable that with the slightest breeze it could tumble at any moment. And he is anything but young having crossed middle age long ago. His soul is even older, as dated as the rings of Saturn.
He considers himself of no import, requiring no entourage, no following. Others however disagree. Thus, he is always surrounded yet forever alone. The desolation he sees, the isolation he feels is at times unbearable.
He prefers the coolness of the shadows not the scorch of the spotlight. The comfort of a sweatshirt, the loose fit of jeans and the unpretentiousness of loafers is his wardrobe of choice. However, even this is denied him as the straightjacket of a suit and tie, confines him, suffocates him, threatens to choke life’s breath from him.
Some long to be near him, but fear his touch. Others want to be like him yet never bothered to know him. He is wanted but not loved, needed yet not respected, admired though not trusted. All want a piece of him, asking him, beseeching him, begging him for solutions to problems for which he has no answers. He is just as lost as they but dare not show it.
His job is to be strong when others are weak. His task is to know when others don’t. He is the spear catcher in chief, a human target who intercepts and deflects each missile all too poised to strike. A modern day sin eater, he consumes the guilt of others. Each harvest is bountiful and his plate is always full.
A free spirit by nature, he can never be himself. His station won’t allow it. So, he is eternally on guard, carefully monitoring what he says, where he goes, what he does, who he’s with, what he feels and how he thinks, lest he be revealed as the fraud he believes himself to be. The resulting paranoia is something he desperately tries to hides. Sometimes he succeeds, most times he does not.
And he is weary, oh so weary. The same people he aids would suck the very marrow from his bones. He struggles not to let them. How he wishes they would stop, but he knows they won’t. He fears that soon, all too soon that there will be nothing left. He will be gone and forgotten, like others before him.
What troubles him so? What is the cause of his distress? What is this thing that haunts him, that hounds his every move?
It is not the moon, full or otherwise. Lycanthropy is not his bane. Wooden stakes, crucifixes and sunlight do not troubles him. There are no witches or warlocks in his past. Ladders pose no problem and black cats dare not cross his path. Like Heracles, he could best any beast of yore.
His is a more contemporary malady. His is a responsibility he did not ask for and does not want. His is the burden of leadership.
With the haste of Hermes he attempts to flee it. But for him, there is no escape. He can neither outrun nor avoid his destiny. This weight, this woe always catches him. It hunts him down with wolf like efficiency leaving no room to turn, no where to run, no where to hide.
Yes heavy is the head that wears the crown. But, doth he protest too much? Is this nothing more than self indulgent angst from one who knows better? Does he really like the time, the attention, the following, does he really, really like it? Still, while the truth may be far different, he tells himself that he hates this, he doesn’t want to do this; how else to manage the real foe, the abomination within.
At other times he rails against himself. ‘Am I strong enough, am I smart enough, am I tough enough? Maybe I’m just afraid’ a thought that both shames and depresses him. ‘Man up you punk and quit whining’, he replies. ‘Put on your big boy pants for God’s sake.’ But the cross he bears, the burden he carries is kicking his ass.
At the end of the day, in the still of the night, in the quiet of his room, nailed to a bed that is his and his alone he wonders, ‘is God real and if so, has he abandoned me? When from the corner of the same room, from under the bed, and behind the mirror, from the fan above that rotates ever so slowly, from everywhere at once and yet no place at all, in tones barely audible yet immensely powerful, a voice softy whispers, “God is true and you are favored.”
These are the challenges of leadership. This is a leader’s lament.”
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO of the Blackacre Policy Forum, LLC