Friday, February 15, 2008


I was watching the History Channel today, as I am wont to do on occasion. They seemed to be exploring a theme of weather disasters today by series, called "The Wrath of God."

One told of the Donner Party, the early western pioneers who, having taken an ill-advised detour, became stranded in the Sierra Nevada in a record snowfall. Half the party died. One man was kicked out of the group as a result of in-fighting and bad advice.

The History Channel made him out to be a bit of a loudmouth, although I've yet to find a corraborating report online.

It led me to pondering about loudmouths and how they affect or destroy a group of people. It also led me to pondering the pitfalls of leadership. And now diplomacy comes to mind: the talent of finding the middle ground and shaping a decision. And also the horrible consequences of each of these three when they go astray. Strength (or bully?), Kind Guidance (or weakness?), Wise Resolution (or enhancing the worst of both sides?).

I have played a part in all three of these roles, in all six facets, at many different times, to differing degrees, and have made many mistakes, and have also had a few moments of joyous clarity which I long to someday repeat. I wrestle with guilt, with regret, and with pride and with shame.

I haven't yet come to a conclusion about all this, but I confess I have thought some terrible thoughts today.

I feel a lesson is in process, and it is hurting my brain. I must comprehend. I must find the moment of discovery. That "Eureka" moment evades me although I sense it maddeningly close.

(side note for GW players - isn't that new shield name hilarious? It makes a wonderful exclamation: "Great Conch! I have it!")

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