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  • Writer's pictureChristine Hassing


Updated: Aug 1, 2018

There have been times when impatience has led me to paddle furiously in the river of life, certain I was ready, for whatever I thought ready met at the point I was sitting in the canoe, pushing hard upstream to reach a destination that was quietly waiting for me downstream.

I have come to understand through my journey in this program that to serve others to the best of my ability, I first had to serve myself. I may have served others along the way before this program, but to serve wholly, I had inner work to do before I would be ready.

That met purging old limiting beliefs and mental models that I had very masterfully continued perpetuating for a very long time…in some cases, years. When one has learned to silence her voice in the name of unworthy, it takes time to realize that she no longer needs to keep adding pages to that chapter of her life. Gratitude for ORGL 615: Leadership Systems and Behavior in teaching me how to begin to turn causal loops in new directions.

It meant learning the importance of identifying and then standing on the foundation of one’s ethical value set. It also met being open to building upon or adjusting that foundation as one learns and grows, but don’t hide the bricks under foot in which one stands. Bravely voice one’s voice, believing one's voice is worthy of being heard. Equally grateful for ORGL 610: Leadership Ethics in not only encouraging me to take a stand, but for the self-assessment that whispered its healing words: look in the mirror again for you think you aren’t, but you are.

Bravery. “Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what’s right even if there’s opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it” (V.I.A, 2001). Number twenty-four of twenty-four in my self-assessment until I became aware of the seed of advocacy that was sprouting in my soul. Just as ORGL 537: Foresight and Strategy had planted the seed I cannot not.

It also meant healing. Of self. Through seeking verbal forgiveness from two important individuals in my life per our class assignments and from finding forgiveness with someone no longer of this Earth. From reading such books as Forgiveness and Power in the Age of Atrocity: Servant Leadership as a Way of Life by Dr. S. Ferch, Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning by Viktor Frankl, Night by E. Wiesel, and My Father’s House by S. Fraser. From watching the movies Anne Frank: The Whole Story and Smoke Signals. I found a significantly deeper level of forgiveness and healing where hindsight revealed I had only previously scratched the surface.

“The commonest image of what it means to hold things with respect and reverence is that I’m going to have my heart broken apart. That happens sometimes – people’s hearts end up in little shreds on the floor and putting them back together is a long process of reconciliation…but some years ago, it came to me that there’s another way of imaging the breaking of the heart, which is that it’s been broken open to greater capacity” (Ferch, Spears, McFarland, Carey, p. 257). “Then we are in for a profound and often excruciating call. I believe the call emerges from the center of humanity, the nexus of the human and the divine; the call to be a true person, a person who then influences people because the true person is responsible to surrender their own healing and then to heal the heart of humanity” (Ferch, Spears, McFarland, Carey, p. 257).

I had needed to move from spiritual forgiveness to human forgiveness so that I could then open myself to hearing the voices of others, and the entry into relationships in meaningful ways, with those who are searching for hope, purpose in their story, and forgiveness. My humanness begets their pathway to wholeness; their humanness begets my deepening servanthood. Together we will serve each other, independently and interdependently. Of whole self, and selflessly. Through forgiveness, into healing, onto collective flourishing.

I have been blessed with people who have listened to me so that I could find healing; I will now pay forward gently holding up a mirror for others to find their healing within themselves. “The language and actions of the Servant-leader are grounded in a fundamental respect for the dignity of the human person, and that respect becomes the heart of all relationships (Horsman, Chapter 6, p. 8). “The healing of relationships is a powerful force for transformational integration. One of the greatest strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one’s self and one’s relationship to others. Many people have broken spirits and have suffered a variety of emotional hurts. Although this is a part of being human, servant-leaders recognize that they have an opportunity to help make whole those whom they come in contact” (Spears, 2017., no. 5)

I wholly agree that “humans need to interact with others to learn from them. We do not give ourselves identity; we inherit our identities from others – from persons, events, and ideas” (Arnett, Frisk, Bell, p. 17). Yet, there is one key. If we don’t start with a self-identity, there is nothing to inherit from humanity, for there is nothing to give to humanity.

Divinely, I was led to Gonzaga. I began my journey with a cracked heart, ready to piece the shattered slivers back in place; I did not realize that my heart would break wide open to a new capacity (Palmer, 2009, p. 178). The shattered slivers would still piece back together as the heart grew outward from its cavity. I also found the ability to “hold more of my own and the world’s suffering and joy, despair and hope” (Palmer, 2009, p. 178). I began to understand that my fear of being selfish, as I had ingrained as mental truth that I must be if I used my voice, was creating the very person I did not want to be. For, selfish is to not share who we are whole-heartedly; we short-change human flourishing when we hide authenticity, including the less-than-perfect beautiful scars that show we have lived.

Arnett, R. C., Fritz, J. M. H., Bell, L. M. (2009) Communication Ethics Literacy. Thousand

Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Ferch, S.R., Spears, L., McFarland, M., Carey, M., (2015). Conversations on Servant-

Leadership. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Horsman, J.H. (n.d.) On Listening. (chapter 6). Retrieved:


Palmer, P. J. (2009). A hidden wholeness: The journey toward an undivided life. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Spears, L., (Fall, 2017). Character and Servant-Leadership, Number 5. Retrieved from

V.I.A., Values in Action Institute on Character. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

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