"History has shown that especially effective leaders tend to emerge during periods of great change. For every turning point in American history, a creative leader--right for the times and uniquely suited to the task--took the helm." Donald T. Phillips from The Founding Fathers on Leadership
I was talking with my friend Ranae recently and she told me about a book she is reading about the Founding Fathers and Leadership. She shared with me the above quote, and I was reminded of a concept that I've seen displayed repeatedly, anomalies. Anomalies are things that are so different from their surroundings as to be notable. They stand out and can serve as beacons for others to follow.
I use the term 'anomaly' in counseling work a lot, because well I see it a lot. I've seen individuals who have come from horribly long established patterns of familial abuse, going back generations, who are so different from their families that they barely even physically resemble them. These individuals are some how able to withstand the onslaught and come out of the other side, not unharmed, but determined to not carry on the cycle. Its as if these individuals were specifically chosen to lead their families out of darkness. I see the very hand of God in those miracles. He assigned amazing people to end abuse and restore some sanity. Its not just in abusive families. I see anomalies in adoptive families also. Whatever it is that motivates parents to adopt children has to come from such a pure and open place. Adoptive families are like shining anomalies who were able to find each other. Adoption can be a tough row to hoe, for both parties, but it seems they are blessed with an extra measure of strength to not just withstand but to be refined to a point of graceful magnificence. I could go on, but suffice it to say there are anomalies among us, people so exceptional as to be blessed with the ability to change patterns, hearts and lives.
The more I learn about the founding of our country the more I realize that the Founders themselves were anomalies. How were these people able to stand up against a "long train of abuses" and a mighty military force to win their independence? They were remarkable men and women who were exceptionally qualified to lead. It seems that there was a general understanding among them that what they set out to do was impossible, were it not for the Divine. So, they carried forward, trusting in God, and trusting that in the end something remarkable could take place, and it did. Look at the nation they established. Boldly and uniquely exceptional. Watching now as the Middle East is broiling in the strife of protests I'm reminded how rare a thing true freedom is. There are calls to support Democracy in those countries. I don't disagree with those calls. We should support the struggle for freedom wherever it takes place. But, history has seen these protests before. France, Russia, Argentina, you name it; people rise up to fight oppression, but there is rarely that single message, rarely a reliance on anything other than a desire for something different than what they currently have. What ends up restoring order is usually an iron fist. I hope for better for Egypt and other countries going through these painful changes. But, The United States of America is the exception not the rule, hence the saying 'we are an exceptional nation'. We're an anomaly. So, what makes the difference? I think the key is in our Declaration of Independence: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor." The touch of the Divine, and the trust in Him. Whereas others reached first for weapons of protest, our Founders first reached to God. And He makes all the difference. I can hardly fathom how frightening it must have been to embark on the great American experiment. The hypothesis was that man could indeed rule himself. The most necessary ingredient is a trust in divine Providence, and the morality that flows from that trust. A city on the hill indeed.
There in the Declaration is the key to being a positive anomaly. Its the same regardless of the circumstance. Those who firmly rely on Divine Providence are able to not just survive but to become something better than we could on our own. That firm reliance manifest in a unified pledge to consecrate our very lives, fortunes and honor, can set us on a path to become our greatest selves. We can be the lights of the city on the hill.
Now, at this crossroads in our history, when the time demands a uniquely qualified leader, I, with gratitude, acknowledge that God still has a hand in the affairs of men, and He has chosen people to rise up to the task. I remember when I first started researching Sarah Palin often asking myself "Geez, where did this lady come from?" There was no political pedigree from which she was destined. There was no financial backing from her chosen party. There was only a desire to serve and a will to make it happen, and most important of all a trust in God from a very young age. Sarah Palin did not set out to change the world, she set out to live a life of service and to trust that God would continue to guide her in ways she could best serve. She is so different from any other politician out there in her personal and political history. She goes against all the conventional wisdom, she's an anomaly that the conventions of media and politics just cannot understand. Right here, right now, she is the right person to lead in whatever way God will ask of her. Its stunning in its realness.
I must also note, that as I've met with other Palin supporters I've seen the very same anomalous traits. I use the term supporters, because its more than being a fan. Supporters are people who understand the times and understand the needs and understand the leader. Supporters are people who if able gather together from all over the country determined to continue in the great cause of freedom. And so to you anomalies I say keep shining. Others will recognize that light and will follow. There is so much goodness in this country, people who only need a direction to look to in order to best focus their efforts. 'Many are called, but few are chosen.' To be chosen is entirely up to us, its our choices that determine who we are and set the course for our lives.
It is a turning point in history. It is my great honor and blessing to be here at the crossroads with you, and standing shoulder to shoulder with a leader who is willing to take up the charge. Freedom is worth fighting for, and God has our backs and fronts and sides. Carry on.