There are times in all of our lives that we stop and reflect on our purpose, our families, and our accomplishments. We wonder why we are who we are? How did we get to this point in our lives?
It’s three in the morning, and I am silently listening to the man I married breathe heavily in an exhaustive sleep. The bed does not move, but his raspy breathing is strong and tells a story that only he and I know. Perhaps I do not sleep because his breathing is deafening in this otherwise quiet room. I do not move to adjust the blankets like I sometimes do to quiet him, nor do I punch my pillow a few times, hoping to make him roll over. I realize at this very moment that he deserves this sleep in his own bed, with his own special pillow next to his loving wife. So I stare at the wall and think about him… not my husband, but the leader he has become.
In this world today, news tends to revolve around the leaders of nations far and wide. We watch as each leader is dissected, re-dissected and left out for vultures to do with, as they will. It’s a sad time, to say the least. But the truth is, that each of these leaders are people, just like you and I. They love, they cry, they celebrate, and yes, get their feelings hurt. It is the nature of all mankind to feel emotion; no matter how it rears it’s head. For me, I understand why their sleep is hard, troublesome, and short. Oh, I’m not saying my husband is a world leader… but he is not just the leader of the PTA or neighborhood HOA either. He is a high profile leader of young people destined to change the world… our world.
When I met my husband thirty-six years ago, he was young and ambitious. Well, as ambitious as you can be, as a fresh boot out of basic training. I suppose what I fell in love with, was his humor and his deep blue eyes. He was fun! We were nineteen. When he asked me to marry him, I could not have been happier. In my mind, all we needed to be successful was love. Silly, I know. But it did get us through the first four years of our lives on a tiny remote island in Alaska. We had nothing, no money, hand-me down furniture, and each other.
As the years went on, we both held each other up, supporting our dreams and goals, while planning our future as best we could. We started a family and found that our two beautiful children were, and always will be, the center of our lives. We were just like you, your neighbor… the leaders among us. And then things began to change. For my husband, his jobs got busier, more demanding. He worked his way up the “so called ladder” with me by his side. I did not have to give up my life for his, I would have, but no, he wouldn’t want that. So we became a team, boosting each other up each rung until one day he made it to the top. It was actually a surprise to be at the top. Our lives changed overnight, like a budding pop star that is suddenly thrust into the foreign world of stardom. We were excited but cautious. All eyes were on us, and our every move.
It’s a funny thing being in a fishbowl where everyone is watching and listening. I found that it didn’t matter what was said, what the intention was, our audience gathered their own impressions and views of us, my husband in particular. Much like the press today, those around us seem to think our lives as people no longer mattered. But the truth is, we are people. You know, the ones that laugh, cry, celebrate and yes, get their feelings hurt? Oh, we’ve been lucky so far; our audience has been kind for the most part. But here’s the thing, we are NOT the only couple in the world living in the fishbowl. Look around you and think of all the leaders you know. How do you see them? Are you looking to find a flaws in them? Are you looking to see if they have what it takes to gain your approval? Are you more critical of them, because for the simple reason, you are jealous of his/her life? Stop.
Now look at that leader as a person. What qualities can you find that are positive? Do you know how they got to that leadership position? Have you actually LOOKED at their face, their body, stature? What do you see? If you haven’t truly taken the time to understand and know the leaders around you, then perhaps you should. Perhaps you will find that they are on the PTA Board, the HOA Board, The Trustees Board for the Betterment of Man, the church hospitality team, and a mentor to a child at school. Perhaps you will find that they attend all their children’s sporting and theatrical events, that they make their own breakfast each morning at 4:30 because they don’t want to put anyone out, or that they travel three-in-a- half weeks out of the month. And then stop once more and think about this, why would this leader put themselves through the ringer to do the job they are in, if it was not to better our world?
Oh, I can hear the naysayers, right now. They look at our President and say, he’s in it for his own ego. Perhaps… but when you truly look at these people as a person, you just have to come to the realization that they honestly believe they can make a positive change. They try to do what is right, WHICH, brings us back to the man now snoring in my ear. He did not take his position because he wanted the fame or glory. He did not take it because he had a higher agenda, or that he wanted more money, on the contrary. He took this job because he thinks he can make positive changes in an already amazing organization made up of young people… our future leaders. And because he has committed himself to lead them in a positive direction, he sleeps four hours a night, he answers two phones, his daily calendars (scheduled for him) are full with meetings and events that have him bouncing in and out of our home like a man on a pogo stick. He would not change his life if you asked him, for he knows that this is his calling…
So, I will not wake him to roll him over. I will not whine that I only saw him for thirty minutes today, nor will I let anyone defame his character because they think it’s cool to do such a thing. No, I will tell him I love him, I will tell him to keep up the good fight, I will remind him of our humble beginnings, and I will tell him I’m proud of him. For if we cannot do this for our leaders, what does that say about us? What does that say about our nation and our future? It’s time to acknowledge the leaders among us in a positive light, so that they as a person, can remind themselves of their purpose and bring forth a brighter future for us all.
The author and her husband.
Photos courtesy of nbcnews, Time, Alchetron, PolitiFact, R. Shimpo, HyperActivz, V. Smith