This story has been sitting in the back of my head for a while now. I figure I’d write it out now and see where it takes me. So, I knew a guy. Let’s call him Michael. And for the sake of putting a face to him, let’s say he looks like this:
Michael was a cool guy. As a freshman, we had a couple of classes together despite him being a year older than me. Something about him always made me gravitate towards him. No, not in a romantic/attraction sense. I mean, for some reason, I really wanted to be his friend. Maybe it was our mutual friends or the fact that we shared the same faith, but I always found myself talking to him when I got a chance. Conversations between him, our friends and me ranged from intellectual to outright silly. Maybe I was just excited to befriend someone older than me?
We did end up being pretty good friends. He actually came to my baptism and even got me a gift.
Anyway, a couple years would pass and he would be chosen to be the president of the Christian fellowship on campus. He had a good head on his shoulders. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to do for the school year, had good administrative skills and was on good terms with the whole team. I was on that team, albeit with a more secondary role. Basically I didn’t have an official title, but some work was offloaded on me from time to time.
Halfway through the school year, I was having a conversation with my cousin. He had some ideas that he wanted to voice to the fellowship core team. And since he knows me and I have a voice in said team, he sought to speak through me. We sat down at the library and typed out a long email. The tone we were going for was more of constructive criticism or suggestion oriented, but the nature of typed words is that they can be interpreted however the reader wants. My cousin and I patted ourselves on the back and thought “wow, we’re taking steps to create a better fellowship.” That email would go on to spark a message thread that wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. Some core members took it as a chance to voice their own harsher opinions and some sought to argue through some things. It got to a point where a lot of fingers were pointed at Michael. And to a certain extent, it kind of was his fault. The problem with his leadership style was that he took on the bulk of the tasks and planning. He only dished out simple assignments to us, or perhaps things he could trust us to accomplish. As a result of Michael’s leading style, only he knew the inner workings of the fellowship, and only he knew how to handle all the paperwork and administrative things. All he really needed to do was train some of us up for the following year or not take too many things upon himself.
And then Michael resigned.
He said it was for personal reasons and that too many things were piling up on his plate. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but to a couple others and myself though, it seemed as if he wanted to see us as a chicken running around without it’s head. Part of me thinks he wanted us to come crawling back to him and beg him for his leadership.
Alas, we still had to function and lead the fellowship. There was this weird limbo where Michael was still part of the team, but not. He wouldn’t join us for planning meetings, but he would still offer his input in team message threads. When we finally drew the line to Michael’s contribution, we were left with a core team that was slowly drifting apart. All the criticism and finger pointing was causing us to crumble.
Despite all of this, something changed. Leaders arose from the team (no, not me) and a new passion for the fellowship was ignited. It pushed us past just scraping something together for general meetings and allowed us to move forward. Even past that, as I and a couple others returned on leadership for the following year, things ran better. As leaders, we took ownership of this fellowship and made the most of it. My cousin was added to the core team as well, and for the most part, his suggestions were made a reality.
All because I wrote that email? Maybe. All because Michael left at the worst possible time? Perhaps more so. His departure forced us to make the changes we always wanted and maybe needed.
And as for Michael? I think in his mind he sought to burn his bridges. Yes, he graduated and all that. Was this his master plan all along? Like some variation of [spoiler alert] Lelouche’s plot to save the world at the end of Code Geass by focusing the hatred on him? Or maybe Michael couldn’t stand to see the fellowship prosper without him? I don’t know. Despite reflecting on the events that unfolded, I’m sure there are multiple variables that I didn’t even know of. And because of that, I’m still not sure what really happened.