As I observed the formation of a new federal government and a new state government, I imagined what I might preach to the victors on the first weekend after their hard-fought campaigns. With the political campaigns behind, with the seemingly impossible task of governing ahead, consider how a crew of nine men learned to row a Gold Medal boat.
“What mattered more than how hard a man rowed was how well everything he did in the boat harmonized with what the other fellows were doing. And a man couldn’t harmonize with his crewmates unless he opened his heart to them. He had to care about his crew. It wasn’t just the rowing but his crewmates that he had to give himself up to, even if it meant getting his feelings hurt…. ‘Joe, when you really start trusting those other boys, you will feel a power at work within you that is far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. Sometimes, you will feel as if you have rowed right off the planet and are rowing among the stars.’”
The ‘Boys in Boat’ “…were all tough, they were all fiercely determined, but they were also good-hearted. Every one of them had come from humble origins or been humbled by the ravages of the hard times in which they had grown up….The challenges they had faced together had taught them humility-the need to subsume their individual egos for the sake of the boat as a whole-and humility was the common gateway through which they were able now to come together and begin to do what they had not been able to do before.”
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, pp. 235, 241
May those who now have the privilege of serving our nation and states, divided as they may be politically, find within them the rare ability to row the boat together. ‘We The People’, we whom they are called to serve, we deserve it.
For those who wonder if humility, if striving to learn to ‘row among the stars’ is unrealistic, there is always the alternative with which humankind has struggled since Cain and Abel.
‘First pride, then the crash—
the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.’ Proverbs 16:18 (The Message)