Friday, September 25, 2009

The Gardens of Kromeriz and a Journey into the Soul

Last weekend I took a trip to Kromeriz, a small town in Moravia, a good 8+ hours from Cheb. After the 8pm train to Prague (which arrived around midnight) I wasn't overly thrilled to be up at 6:30 the next morning. We showed up in Kromeriz around noon, exhausted and a bit dazed, and were thrust immediately into a full afternoon of meetings.
This year Kelly's dad, Ron Keust, came to speak to us. His role was to encourage and motivate us to learn better how to serve and uphold our CA teams this year. At the end of the weekend he even gave us copies of his book Embracing Conflict. A little light reading for those long winter nights ahead. He spoke primarily about growing the soul. Some insights from the weekend:
Management is about coercion
Leadership is about influencing
It was an interesting concept to think about. My job is by no means to try to coerce other people to follow some strict set of rules. I think it's really easy to believe that, because there is this long contract we all sign in order to work for ESI, and because failure to abide by the "rules" there in can lead to expulsion from the program, that we have singed in to some excessively legalistic group. In such a setting, my job would be to watch over my minions in order to jump down their throats the moment I see them straying in any way shape or form from the before mentioned contract. But we have not been sent into this world to be slaves, but to be free. The goal is not to beat people over the head with the letter of the law, but to live a life of example here for the people we have come to love and serve. All this points to the fact that we are all here to be leaders in a sense. Leaders striving to show the way to a fulfilling life in Christ.
Tied closely to this was the idea that in order to serve and influence others, our concern for them must be genuine. In other words, if we really love people, they will see that, and naturally be changed. All the forced meetings in the world, all the fake smiles, and pained "worshipful" expressions will never have an impact. The only way to really lead is to love. The only way to reach into peoples lives is to genuinely care how they're doing.
Betwixt and between these teaching sessions and the business meetings, we did squeeze in an occasional foray into town. Kromeriz is home to the palace of the Archbishop of Olomouc, as well as several truly beautiful gardens that we had the chance to peruse quickly.

This first set of pictures was taken our first evening. Fortunately by this point I had managed to take a shower. We were given a ten minute break at one point, and knowing I was going to either fall asleep or bite someone's head off if I didn't take a shower and become a real person, I hurriedly did so. I think everyone appreciated that fact.
The rest of the photos were taken the following day when we had a chance to go to the Zamek, or palace, or chateau, whatever word you chose. I wouldn't say there's a perfect expression for these in American English at least, since we really don't have anything like this in our new little country.

I greatly enjoyed being able to wander around the Zamek gardens as well. Here are a few shots of what we were able to enjoy there:

I'll end now with a photo of our little Penzion. It was a pretty nice place to stay and very cute, with lovely little balconies where we sat and ate. Oh, I also wanted to add that in the midst of all the talk about the soul I happened to be reading about the soul in the book How Harry Cast His Spell by John Granger. It was an interesting little comparison to make. In the book he was talking about how Voldemort chose a life of evil, giving up what made him human, in order to embrace a failed attempt at immortality. It actually went really well with what we were talking about, and emphasized the importance of caring for our soul, and feeding it with the truth of God, which is the only thing that can truly give us life.


Jessie Rose Zavala said...

So good to hear about what's going on with you, Sarah. Your conference actually sounded really interesting, and what amazing gardens! Why doesn't my yard look like that? :) Love you!

Sarah said...

It's so beautiful there Sarah. I'm a little jealous.