Saturday, February 9, 2013

Even Jesus Knew We Need to Get Away

As I look at the readings for today's Catholic mass (Saturday morning), the first verse of the Gospel reading caught my attention (Mk 6:30-32, although the full reading goes on to verse 34):
The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
He had not taken any management classes as far as we know.  But this shows that despite his divinity, he had a sense for what people need, i.e., a sense of his humanity.  

Sometimes the pressures of leadership and the pressures more generally of what we are called to do day after day suggest that we need time away. Sometimes this is in the form of vacation even away from those we work with.  Sometimes this is in the form of a retreat with those with whom we work.  Sometimes the retreat involves everyone at all levels in an organization.  Other times, it is just leadership.  But the key is that it is good for people to get away to think differently, to ponder differently, and to be able to see what things look like when they are able to remove themselves from the day to day.

Unfortunately it didn't work out that way for Jesus and his apostles as people figured out where they had gone and he taught them anyway.  But for those of us who manage in the world today, the use of this type of tool is important.  I have seen different people above me make a variety of decisions about retreats recently.  It is interesting to see the relative value that leaders perceive that individuals who work for them put on the opportunity to step out and experience and think differently.  When we barely have enough time to get work done anyway, we rarely see the value here.  But I think that the value remains.       

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