Power. It is an elusive term. There are different types of power. There is political power, the ability to influence, if not determine the ways in which the goods and services of a municipality, a state, nation, or the world are distributed. There is economic power, the ability to determine the way in which money flows. There is social power, the force to influence people and societal forces to move. I also consider the notion of spiritual power. Could spiritual power be the authority to move the hand of God?
What is power? Who has power? How do we obtain power and how should we utilize it? Whether one uses power for political, economic, social, spiritual, or any other purpose, at the root of power is the notion of ability. Ability. Skill, prowess, authority, permission power. Ability moves in a particular direction. Power is the ability to do, to act toward a specific end. If this is the case, then power is neither good nor evil. The end to which we direct power is either good or evil. Power is amoral. We who wield power infuse it with its morality or lack thereof.
All of us have power. We all have the ability to do something. Do you realize this? You have power. You can do something. You can exert influence to make things better. You have the power to improve your relationship or your marriage. You have the power to make progress in your career or your volunteer activities. Your community can improve, because you have the power to do it. Perhaps, your children`s school is not what you want it to be. You have the power to change it. This world is waiting for you to exercise your power, as is the upcoming presidential election. You have the power!
Am I engaging in a flight of fantasy? No! Hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution has inculcated within us great ability. We have the ability to endure years of war. We have the skills to create medical miracles. You and I "we" have the capacity to shape our reality. We have the power! For those of us who believe in a Supreme Being, He or She has created us with tremendous ability, god-like in its proportions. I wonder what gave Mother Theresa the strength to minister to the Untouchables in India for so many years. I can only imagine the fortitude that it required for Nelson Mandela to endure twenty-seven years in a South African prison on Robbin Island. What is that enabled Lance Armstrong to hear a diagnosis of testicular cancer, endure treatment for it, and then to persevere, so that he might recover from it. They had the power!
Believe it or not, you and I have the same power. Truly, people, like you and I, can do ordinary and extraordinary things. I have the distinct privilege of serving as the Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice of New Jersey. In this capacity, I manage the counseling and other programming created for families, who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Several days ago, I had the opportunity to facilitate a Caregivers` Telephone Support Group. As I listened to the stories of the caregivers, all of whom were caring for someone at the end-of-life, I was amazed at the amount of love, courage, and personal sacrifice that they continued to exhibit and make for days, months, and even years. It takes power to do that.
Perhaps, you are not in the position to have to care for a dying loved one. You`re greatest challenge may be to arise each morning to go to a job that you love. That still takes power. Someone else may face greater challenges to travel to your place of employment. For you, you cannot take travel for granted, for you may be confined to a wheelchair. That, too, takes power. Still someone else may face a mounting family crisis, an important business decision, or may be wrestling with a profound question of faith. All of this takes power to do. Every day, we engage in activities, make decisions, and solve problems, both great and small. You have the power to do any and everything. May you use the power that you have today!