Written by Melissa Sharpe
My family was in a need of a few things, so I ventured out to a well-known one stop shop where the shelves are stacked twenty feet high, and your cart tends to overflow with things you absolutely didn’t need.
As I ventured down the aisle heading towards the checkout line, I passed by a little guy no more than three. His mother was a few feet away looking at him with an amused expression on her face; his father stood looking a little lost. This pint-sized powerhouse ripped off his face mask and hurdled it to the ground screaming in the loudest shout he could muster, “I AM NOT HAPPY!”
I, too, was amused. I looked at this spunky little boy and responded, “I hear you little man. I’m not happy either. You shout it out for me, too”.
And if it had been at all appropriate, I would have thrown my own mask on the floor to show solidarity.
For many of us, we’re experiencing those same types of feelings. We’re not happy. The repercussions of this pandemic have us feeling a variety of emotions at any given moment. And if we’re honest, perhaps we, too, would like to shout at the top of our lungs alerting the world to our internal struggles. So how do we as leaders lead well when, in our humanity, we are experiencing the same struggles as everyone else? Solidarity. We do so by leaning into our humanity and not trying to defy it.
The book of 1 Corinthians is a letter penned to the church of Corinth by the Apostle Paul. The city of Corinth was a large international metropolis filled with people from different backgrounds. It was well known for is pagan worship of many false idols and sinful activity. It was difficult for the church to live separate from the worldliness of the city, however Paul was clear to the people that they were not to abandon the city but live out their commitment ever more faithfully in solidarity before the nonbelievers. Paul expected that believers would come together and shine their light into the dark places.
1 Corinthians 12:26
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.
And Paul’s words echo to this very day. We, as believers, must stand in solidarity with those who struggle just like we do. One for all and all for one. We must acknowledge the thoughts and feelings of others leading them with our own unique perspective of compassion and empathy bringing our collective humanity to the conversation. And our ability to be vulnerable and stand in solidarity will accomplish what we’ve been commissioned: shining light into a very dark place.