15 Ramadhan, 1438
We're just over the halfway stage in our fasting. It's arrived very quickly, though paradoxically we seem to have been fasting for a long time, long enough to have settled into a reasonably comfortable routine. Is that a sign of strength of character? Not really. More a sign of the mercies that make themselves mysteriously available at this time. I'm quite sure that any disturbance in that routine would have me floundering - which is not such a bad thing. Reminders of one's fundamental vulnerability, one's dependency upon the efforts and goodwill of others, are an essential of this experience.
I've been thinking about issues of strength and weakness in particular relation to the notion of leadership today, in the light of yesterday's UK election result and the light it shone on the perceived strengths and/or weaknesses of the leaders of the various parties involved, especially the party that sort of won but managed to lose at one and the same time. They made an issue of what they saw as the obvious strength of their leader in a way that makes one wonder at just how wrong they managed to be. But reading some reports about the bullying and abusive behaviour of her top aides (who've now resigned) shed much light on this wrongness. These are people who have no understanding of real strength of leadership, operating within a culture that seems to promote all the wrong models of behaviour associated with the concept.
I say this simply because I can't imagine myself not calling such people out big-time if they behaved that way with me, and I don't count myself as particularly strong or brave. Why didn't these guys get the feedback from those they abused they needed to become better people? I can only suppose because of the cowardice of those around them who let them behave like playground bullies. No wonder these people are obsessed with the notion of strength in the rhetoric they peddle: they have none and at some very deep level they yearn for it.