Leadership Lessons – Keep Pushing!

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Maj.) Steven T. Dabbs
  • 319th Air Base Wing chaplain
A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. God told the man he had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. He told the man to push against the rock with all his might. The man did this, day after day. Days turned into years, and the man toiled from sunrise to sunset with his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock. Each night he returned to his cabin feeling sore and worn out, like his whole day had been a waste.

Eventually the thoughts of discouragement and failure crept in. Right before he decided to give up, he prayed, "God, I have labored long and hard. I put all my strength into doing what you asked. Yet, after all this time, I haven't even budged the rock. What's wrong? Why am I failing?"

God compassionately responded, "My friend, when I asked you to push against the rock, you accepted the task, and you did so with all of your might. Never once, however, did I mention I expected you to move the rock. Your task was to just push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But look at yourself -- your arms are strong and muscled, your back shiny and toned, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown strong, and your abilities now surpass those of your past. While you may not have moved the rock, your calling was to just push. Now, my friend, I will move the rock."

The month of December brings with it a season of hope. Whether it's Hanukkah's "miracle of lights" or Christmas' "sacred birth," the colorful lights, ribbon-trimmed gifts and festive gatherings connote a spirit of exceeding joy. However, that's not the case in every corner of our globe nor crevices of our own base community. A number of our folks are away from home for the first time. Some are holding the picture of a loved one who has "gone home." Divorce has a few celebrating the holidays in separate homes. Then there are those who have no place they can call "home" - even a handful whose house doesn't feel like a "home." Life's challenges come in all shapes and sizes, but their common denominator is that they are inevitable. Before you give up hope, just push!

When I visit the gym, I notice that "push" is a repetitive theme. There was a guy on the bench press under a whole lot of weight. His spotter leaned over him and spouted, "Push!" I opened the door to the soccer field one day, and there was a unit on the field in the front leaning rest position. Shortly, I heard the PT leader yell, "Keep pushing." A few months ago, I was stretching to take my PT test when the group before me was wrapping up their run. A group of sweat-soaked wingmen were shouting as one airman was panting through his last lap, "Push through it!"

The most ironic thing about those who regularly choose to endure the rigors of the gym is that they tend to be the strongest, most fit people in the wing! So it is with those who keep "hope" dangled in front of them like a carrot -- they face their obstacles head on, they walk against the wind of their challenges, they approach the "unmovable" rock in their path, stare at it defiantly, and they just push!

Keep pushing, Warriors of the North!