it’s not all about me (though sometimes i wish it was)


One can tell the busy-ness of life by the frequency of my posts.  It has been wild. It has been wild with exciting things – family visits from Canada, international visitors at work, busy weekends. But when it’s wild, I often don’t make the space that I need to reflect.

In the midst of all of this, at work we are recruiting a Cambodian to take over my job.  And that requires wisdom and discernment and reflection.  Reflection for me of course is best when i write.

Last week I was one of a panel of four interviewing five Khmers who want my job. It was a strange experience drafting my own job description and then seeing it posted all over our websites and in the classified sections of the Phnom Penh newspapers.  But interviewing was something new, that’s for sure.  Drafting the interview questions.  Thinking about how to elicit the types of responses I was looking for.  I have interviewed dozens of people as a reporter.  But when you write someone’s story, you’re not looking at how they are going to fit within an organisation and how they are going to work with you and a team.  This is a whole different ball game.

I wasn’t sure what to expect walking into that interview room. But I was very impressed by the quality of the candidates.

And it reminded me that this process – localisation – is a very, very good thing.  Though there are many reasons to panic – I have no guarantees at the organisation in the future;  I don’t know whether I’ll have a job after this year; we don’t know what the future holds and whether we’ll be able to stay in our beloved Cambodia beyond 2011.  But newsflash: this isn’t all about me! And in that realisation, there is a deeper calm.

Localisation is right.  And the candidates we interviewed proved that.  Great experience. Quality education. These five already are leaders in this country.  And I will be the one privileged to work and learn from them – not the other way around.

I spent the weekend reading The Blue Sweater by Jaqueline Novogratz.  Something she wrote towards the end of the memoir stuck out to me. At this time of change and transition, where I must trust that God is caring for us both now and into the future, it was a beautiful reminder of what is really important. And how this experience of passing on the torch is critical to the people of the world becoming who they are meant to be.

Build a vision for the people and recognize that no single source of leadership will make it happen: This is our challenge for creating a future in which every human being can participate…The first step for each of us is to develop our own moral imagination, the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. It sounds simple, and yet it is perhaps the most difficult thing we can do. It is so much easier to pretend that others are different, that they are happy in their poverty, that their religion makes them too difficult to engage in real conversation, or that their faith or ethnicity or class makes them a danger to us.

Each of us needs to develop the courage to listen with our whole heart and mind, to give love without asking for thanks in return, and to meet each person as a chance to know an new individual, not as a way of reaffirming our prejudices.  Our would should remind us that the poor the world over are our brothers and sisters.

(J. Novogratz. The Blue Sweater, Rodale. 2009. Pg. 253-254)

Amen. Now I hope that will sink in deep and become woven into the fabric of who I am as we continue this process of nationalisation.

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