Prayer time this morning has reminded me of a dream that I had during the night. It was one of those dreams that seems to go on forever, repeating basically the same movements as if to teach a specific lesson. In the dream I found myself in a situation in which I and everyone around me were surrounded by zombies. Now I realize that zombies have been popular on television and in everyday culture over the last few years. For me, they have held no interest and I’ve made sure to avoid those offerings on TV.
In the dream, however, as the zombies came and went on their destructive way, eventually I became aware that I was not actively responding to the obvious need to confront them and their activity, and to act on behalf of the good. I was simply keeping my head down, trying to avoid them, and to stay out of their way. This did little good for anyone in their way, and evidenced ultimately to me an obvious irresponsibility on my part. I didn’t know quite how to confront them – particularly successfully – but I came to realize that I had a responsibility to try. Come what may.
This morning, reading, for the first time in my life – that I can remember- the words of the 20th century Benedictine, Hubert van Zeller, I found these words shedding morning light on what last night’s dream may have been asking of me:
With most of us the temptation is to bury the talent, to overlay the true self, to borrow someone else’s technique. This is laziness. It sometimes calls itself humility. But it is sheer unwillingness to bother. We are shy of using the gifts we’ve got, and we excuse ourselves on the grounds that other people have been given much greater ones. This is no excuse at all. We see leadership in another man’s face, we hear it in what he says, we feel it in the electricity of his presence, we read it in his letters, and we say: “I can’t compete with this”. We aren’t meant to. All we are asked to do is to live our own life, and live it to the full. Live, not vie with. Life itself is a talent. Vitality is almost the whole stuff of leadership.