By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
This was the ultimate “runnin’ and gunnin’” interview. The mayor and I were in two different cars, headed to two different states, and we both pulled over in our respective automobiles for a safe phone interview. Today’s topic from The Traveler’s Gift was about having what the author calls having a “decided heart.” For those of you who are “tuning in” for the first time, Mayor Ronnie is doing a series based on The Traveler’s Gift, by Andy Andrews, a charming set of life lessons framed in time travel.
In each chapter, the hero, David Ponder travels through time and meets a historical figure who changed the world. This time it was Christopher Columbus, or more properly, Crist?bal Col?n. For nineteen years, Columbus searched for a sponsor to fund his wild journey that everyone thought would result in him as well as his crew falling off the side of the earth. And, when they were only eleven days shy of making landfall in Florida for the first time, the crew nearly mutinied, insisting on turning around to avoid heading toward no known port, running out of supplies, and sealing their doom. What calmed them? What caused them, and David Ponder, to listen to reason in a situation that was anything but reasonable? Having what was described as a “decided heart.” In other words, it is having a vision that is stronger and purer than any obstacle, fear, or criticism.
“This guy had a dream, and would not give up,” said the mayor, who is not facing anything like falling off the side of the earth anytime soon, but who does have a continual dream for Athens, which we’ll talk about in a bit. One of the weaknesses Col?n eviscerates with passion is indecisiveness. On page 86 he says the following swift-kick-in-the-backside gems:
“Most people fail at whatever they attempt because of an undecided heart. Should I/ Should I not? Go forward? Go back? Success requires the emotional balance of a committed heart. When confronted with a challenge, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape. A committed heart does not wait for conditions to be exactly right. Why? Because conditions are never exactly right. Indecision limits the Almighty and His ability to perform miracles in your life. He has put the vision in you—proceed! To wait, to wonder, to doubt, to be indecisive is to disobey God.”
“Ouch,” I said. The part about indecisiveness and disobedience really got to the mayor, too. The most taxing part of leadership for any leader is being just as willing to listen to people’s concerns, counsel and wisdom as it is to follow your gut and never waver from it. And, to live with the fact that no matter what, someone isn’t going to like it. Goes with the territory.
Before we wrapped up, I asked, “What’s your dream, sir?” He answered, “To build well, and to come together in unity.” Then he added the thing that is always on his heart, and that is the future of our young people, and making sure we equip them to go after their dreams and do it right. It was time to get back on the road for both of us. Literally, Ronnie was rollin’…
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner