So, for the last forty-ish days, I volunteered my services to this thing called GLDI, where young men and women are put through rigorous training to become better Christian global leaders and influencers. Being an alumnus from seven years prior, I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of serving a class, but I thought it’d be pretty fun punishing students with morning exercises and filling in occasionally for the staff when needed, to ultimately help guide these students into leadership. A walk in the park as auxiliary staff, I thought.
It wasn’t. Jesus Christ, it was not.
Firstly, it’s hard enough to curate morning exercises to keep them interesting, but having this being the first time doing this sort of thing and to cater for many individuals, I bumbled through it. Then you have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, psych yourself up to be the Soul Cycle instructor that nobody wants to hear at that hour, and push students to doing things that most of them wouldn’t enjoy on a normal day. Basically, how I treat myself at the gym.
While some staff had a problem with students not moving immediately to direction, I had more of a problem with grumbling and bad attitudes. Like I know this is bad, but honestly, you signed up for this. At one point, I did want to tell them that they could just go home and be whiny bitches there, instead of bringing the entire class morale down. You could just go home, subject yourself to your own forty-day training, and moan all you want to yourself – and possibly get the same resultant – without affecting others. For me, select bad apples were making the entire barrel rotten, and I couldn’t just look past it cause the staff was busting so hard to make this work.
Let me go back to the whiny bitches part. Obviously, I couldn’t say that in the open because it’d be unprofessional. (Duh.) And un-Christian, I guess. Would I want to hear it? Of course I would, because I’m some demented human being that enjoys vulgar, slightly de-motivational speech. However, not everyone is like me, and being in a position of leadership, you should lead by example in action and words, and lack thereof. I’m not perfect, and I would definitely say that I didn’t do a good job (cause my personality is so strong that it just bled over into everything I did), but I did try my best to carry out my responsibilities and serve the students.
Then, something happened that just threw professionalism out the window for me, and I lost my damn mind.
If there’s one thing in the world that pisses me off the most to actually not see gender or race but just target of blame, it’s gossip. I’ve had so many instances of gossip burning up bridges and causing so much unnecessary drama (usually to myself), I could fill up an entire Telemundo lineup for years. Seriously, how hard is it that you have nothing going on in your life, that you have to start some shit to make life interesting? And how many kinds of stupid do you have to be to think certain pieces of information are okay to let loose without permission or consent?
I digress. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t nice. I blew up (which is an overstatement, because this is a Christian setting… whatever that means). I bluntly called people out, specifically on indiscretion since what got out was only supposed to be known behind closed doors. (And if you don’t know if what you know is supposed to be need-to-know information, just default to keeping your mouth shut about it.) There was repentance (maybe) and apologies (maybe), but at the time, there was no healing cause I sure as hell let the students feel my wrath.
Now, if I had not blown up and addressed this issue with the right attitude, this probably wouldn’t have happened as bad as it did. I could’ve shown a little more care and consideration – a little more grace – and things could’ve gone more smoothly. Yet, as I’ve been hinted to or told outright by numerous people at church (mainly women), I have the most abrasive personality known to them, and for me personally, I don’t care. I want to extract the poison or deal with the problem immediately in full force, and if people are too vanilla to want to see the truth, then I’d rather be the greater fool sandpapering their candy asses.
With all the focus on leadership at GLDI, I never thought that I would be the one needing some instruction. But God is funny, ironic, and always knows how to humble. (He’s the original Kendrick Lamar, with better rhymes and flow.)
My big lesson: people are people, but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a little grace. This is particularly relevant, since one of the students asserted that I didn’t like humanity. I agreed with them because I felt that humanity, despite all of its achievements, was still a group of wretched, conniving, selfish, and self-serving beings that shouldn’t deserve an ounce of mercy. The part I needed to add, though, was that despite all the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things that marked humanity, God still showed grace upon us through His Son.
For me, it sucks that I am equally deserving of His grace as the person aforementioned that I pretty much would like to put my fist through their face or 깡패 kick through a window. Yet, sin is still sin, is still sin, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the big stuff or small granules because God finds sin repugnant. (Like, it doesn’t matter if you have a fly in your soup or an entire colony of ants crawling on your buffet tray. You ain’t gonna eat that.) And yet, God extended grace by sacrificing Jesus to take all sin, large and little, and reclaim our sorry, pitiful souls. (This is a basic understanding, by the way, and in no ways a showcase of theological prowess. I’m pretty stupid, as my well-versed pastor friends would gladly point out.)
What does this mean for me? Well, I think it means that some people are good at some things, while others are good at other things. And sometimes, unqualified people are put into positions – and qualified people in objectively demeaning positions – so that they can be taught something, even if the lesson isn’t learned until way after their tenure. Also, sometimes, you can’t shove medicine down people’s throats, but rather leave it out like cookies for Santa (terrible analogy). You can’t change the world, and moreover, you can’t change the hearts and minds of people, but you can still be a beacon pointing the way to hope even when people would rather have you shut the hell up or sit your ass down.
If by chance you are a GLDI alumni reading this, I hope my comments don’t dishearten you, especially if you’re a recent alumnus. (I do have a tendency to be a bit harsh, as mentioned. And vulgar, if you haven’t noticed.) As much as I expressed my disappointment to the most recent class, I was very much proud of their work performed and effort exhibited, just as much as the staff’s. And though I don’t mention it in public, anytime someone asks me if it was worth it, I admit that it was with an analogy. Participating in GLDI, whether as a student or volunteer, is like exercising: sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but it’s ultimately for your benefit, whether or not you can see the results. (I guess now it’s public knowledge.)