Heard from a wise chef responsible for leading his crew in a large, famous, quality restaurant:
“You have to be like a duck on the pond. Your legs are going a mile a minute, but you’re calm and focussed.”
What we see in others is only part of the picture. A strong leader appears calm and focussed to their crew, but below the surface, things are happening. They might be stressed by the layer of governance above them. There may be conflicts in their team that they have to deal with. They are busy planning, strategizing, doing all the work needed for their organization to move ahead, but as far as the people working for her know, she is cool, calm and collected. Good things are happening. The leader is leading her team to success. There is no reason to panic, worry or be concerned. The team is in good hands. They don’t have to worry about it, right?
Appearances can be deceiving. Maybe those legs going a mile a minute are stressed. Maybe they are being pushed to the limit. Maybe the leader is trying to figure out how to cut the dead-weight from the team, that one member that has exhausted their three strikes are really needs to go. Maybe upper management is putting pressure on her to do more with a smaller staff and budget. Maybe the business isn’t growing despite the leader’s best efforts. Maybe the calm demeanour is just a front to keep the staff from worrying.
We never know what’s truly happening below the surface of a person’s life, whether it’s a leader or a member of the team. They might be doing all kinds of amazing things and love every minute of their life, even if they’re going a mile a minute. Or maybe they are unhappy, or unfulfilled, or in need of a rest.
Jesus had a way of getting people to open up. They seemed willing to go to Him with their need to heal, or questions or concerns. They let Him see their legs going a mile a minute, let Him see their need. His love and compassion was an open door to others.
When we love others as Jesus loved us, we are invited to look beneath the surface, beyond their calm demeanour, and ask how they are doing. Is the leader stressed or rejoicing. Is our friend happy or sad? Are the legs going a mile a minute as they move forward, or are they just going in circles. It’s worth asking. It’s worth taking a moment together to show you care. Maybe everything is OK. Maybe it’s not.