Rite of Passage Eleven –Off to the Unknown–
1958—I am twenty-four years old.
Q: Unresolved Conflict: When conflict causes a separation without reconciliation it can remain a constant obstacle for life. Have you ever parted without an attempt at reconciliation? Is there yet still time?
At the time I just didn’t understand what my much older managing director had in mind for my future and it totally escaped me that he, in his seventies, might have been reliving his lost youthful opportunities…through me?
All I could see was years upon years of doing his bidding, taking his instruction and putting in at least ten years until I might be old enough to be accepted for a similar job in such a good hotel.
I was stuck and the scripture ‘a man is a slave to that which has mastered him’ had come to rest…with me!
I had somehow to learn lessons from being ahead of my time and being thrust into responsibilities way beyond my experience.
During my time in the British army I had been promoted to captain at twenty-two and given a major responsibility. It was this early advance that provided the basic foundations of self-confidence that helped me to agree to manage a four star hotel (the Royal Ascot Hotel) at twenty-four and to go on to be Chief Catering Advisor of the Royal New Zealand air force at twenty-five! And it didn’t stop there as I found myself, job after job, so far ahead of my peers…that it took me years to catch up!
Should I, at any of these stages, have said “No!”?
Ambition is a strange inner drive. Not unlike a foot race with others breathing down my neck when a reserve of energy suddenly appears and I draw ahead – beyond my expectations? Better perhaps to keep that energy in reserve for the final push?
So…what about now?
I am now the older man and nearing the end of my race. I have a wee bit of energy in reserve and take care not to squander it on selfish ambitions.
I found myself looking back to my unresolved conflict with Alex Taylor, my managing director and…yes, my mentor, the man who wanted me to succeed…almost in his place?
We parted amid his blazing anger and disappointment, and the threat that he would see to it that I NEVER got another management job in the British Isles…ever!
As time went by there were those ‘moments’ when I looked back in gratitude for the risk he took in my advancement and the time he took to help me succeed. At those times I wanted to write from far off New Zealand and let him know that I was, indeed grateful…regardless of the pain we had both suffered…I needed to say ‘thank you’.
I learned of his death and also of his unsuccessful later years when it was too late to have been a possible blessing to him.
Is there anyone in your past who may fit this bill…could it be that there is still time to express some deserved gratitude?
This week I read Treena’s poem Early Prayer