This summer, I was blown away by 2 compliments that came my way. They both came at me in a nice surprising way. And I was very much taken aback by both of them.
As you can surmise, this summer was exciting yet humbling for me. It was a summer in which I felt I had to desperately seek others to help me sort through some deep emotional turmoil. (Read my previous blog about my humbling summer.) So, when one of our students wrote a thank you card to me…I was a bit insulted at first by her remarks. She mentioned the usual things that one says to enccourage a mentor : God used you to help her grow; You were an example of faith, etc. But then, she made this comment: ” I learned grace from you and you modeled this for me and us. You are one of the best at failing well.” At first, I was a bit shocked or disturbed by that comment; it is not something that anyone has ever said to me. Then, it hit me that this was what I wanted and prayed for esp. in light of ministering to Asian Americans who often times do not ever fail or fail well. It dawned on me that she had given me a compliment or encouragement that was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me especially in this context. To me, it should be one of our goals as ministers for the AA community: That our lives would be examples of those who live out grace, and those who can fail well and teach others to do the same.
The second compliment came while I was having breakfast with a staff and her husband who is not in our circle of service but is very supportive of his wife. We had a great time fellowshipping over good food. As he shared his experiences in ministry, he also went on to share with me his outside perspective on our Epic National Staff Conf that took place a few days prior to our breakfast. He described similar things that I would expect from others: our conf. was modelled by vulnerabilty and honesty which he loved; engaging content that was visionary. It was rather encouraging and the usual suspect. However, I dropped my jaw when he said his final statement: Well, the most important thing that I felt from your national leadership in general that was different than other Christian leadership context was this: You all live out and showcased Servant Leadership. When he said this, I was speechless. I felt like he read a page out of our Epic National LD team’s notes and values and just recited back verbatim. It was indeed the kindest compliment that I think that one can ever receive in ministry: to live out servant leadership. For indeed, it is one thing to lead and yet another to be known for servant leadership like Jesus live out. I pondered on his statement for days.
These 2 compliments certainly put things into perspective for me. They blew me away and emphatically guided me back to some of the truest values that I want to live out as a minister in the AA community. I feel that these compliments have given me my compass for ministry with AA’s.