With/Against the Wind
On Leaf-Blowing and Leadership
This meditation has been inspired (in relatively equal parts) by the following: 1) St. John's account of a Jewish religious leader who came to Jesus by night and learned something more about the nature of the wind; 2) life as a part-time gardener/landscaper during the fall of 2014; 3) that divine presence known particularly (in the Christian tradition) as the Holy Spirit; 4) the need for a certain kind of leadership in the world.
What a person learns from blowing a few thousand leaves here and there and everywhere during the season in which they fall is this: There is a double-sided spiritual wisdom to it all.
On the one hand, most of the time, it's very advantageous to use the wind. You might say: it's the better part of a truly obvious common sense.
To go with the wind. To find its inherent direction. To join your work with this otherworldly power in an eternal/infernal struggle against the forces of decay and death.
If you have enough fuel, that is.
On the other hand, there's the other side of the coin.
Prevailing winds (moods) of all sorts—moral, cultural, political—don't always blow for the good. Don't always blow for the sake of human well-being and flourishing.
You and I know these types of winds, of course. We see them every day. Or, at least, we feel their effects. They range from the typically mild case of the "not-so-good" wind to a typically bad case of what is "a downright evil" wind.
In any case, what is desperately needed in defining moments such as this is a person (an individual; even better, a community) strong enough to blow against the prevailing wind.
To be counter-productive. To disrupt the so-called inherent direction of things. To play the prophet at-large, if you will.
To remind the people of this: What is true always struggles for the sake of life.
What is true will not allow life to be swept away by insidious winds.
What is true—occasionally, maybe—might even blow back life from the dead.