In early October I set off with 8 colleagues on a professional adventure. It was 5 days of backcountry travel to (somehow) honor the model of St. Francis.
In early October I went backpacking with a group of 7 priests and 1 Bishop.
In early October I set off with 8 friends on a Pilgrimage.
All of the above.
It started as an adventure and became a pilgrimage. We started as colleagues and become friends. I started out believing I was a leader. I fell in step as a Follower—and that made all the difference.
I hate to admit that I’m not much of a follower. I tend to lead or I tend to go it alone. This is hard to admit because I do say that I am a Christian, and a Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. I’ll admit that I fear following because followers lack control. In some ways I have made much of my own life rather binary—you either lead or you get out of the way and go your own way. But in early October, with friends on a Pilgrimage, I was reminded of a different way to travel and, a different path to follow.
Here’s the gist of what I learned:
Leadership can be natural, and not assumed or assigned. In other words, needs are noticed and gifted people respond.
There is such relief and release found in following. Simple as that.
Pilgrims lead and follow and honor each other no matter the role.
Leaders can be tender and followers can be strong.
There are so many more possibilities than leading alone or traveling alone.
All of the above!