This is POWERFUL.
I don’t have the video upgrade, so I am unable to embed, please use this link to check out this CNN video, and then come back to read this post!
When I first began watching this video I was thinking about how cool this was for the little girl; to be so close to such an animal so powerful. So beautiful, yet beastly. How many of us would love to have this experience? To stand and see something so amazing without fear or worry. Intrigued and excited, I played it a second time, and saw more than just a visit to the Franklin Park Zoo. As I continued to watch, I felt a sense of pity for the African Lion. What a torment it must be to be caged-in like that. To be unable to live out your sole purpose. To have such an existence in which you only get to stand on the sidelines “as a presence” in what would-be an otherwise dominative capacity had the circumstances been different.
It’s a short CNN clip, but it hits way too close to home.
Some of us, just like this lion.. live inside our glass boxes. Nose smashed up against the wall—watching others watch US!
They are our family members that indirectly shoot down our dreams. The naysayers that remind us how hard it would be for us to start that business, or to get approval for that loan, who remind us of so-and-so who tried that idea, but it didn’t work for ‘them’. They are friends that don’t encourage. Instead of offering insight and wisdom, they laugh in our faces at our grandiose ideas.
And those that watch us aren’t just limited to family and friends. They are co-workers who gossip about us after we’ve done something praise-worthy at work. They tell us not to make waves when office politics have handed us an already pre-determined ballot in which our names were ‘accidentally’ left off. These co-workers don’t want things to get out of hand. It’s the drama from watching us they love. That’s why they come to the zoo (or office, family reunion, bar, the church meeting)—They themselves like vicariously hearing what it is that has you pawing on the glass, in an uproar, but unable to really do anything about.
These watchers are the bosses who are so thankful to have us on the job, but don’t give us the promotions or pay that we deserve. Like this little girl, they “pet us” or pat us on our backs. Verbally say they need us around. But they never offer to help us out of our box. Deep down, they fear our freedom too. They like the protection of the glass. They know a barrier must be present in order to protect the comfortable peace and security they’re used to on the job. They dare not offer free-roam by giving us more authority, for if they did, not only would they unleash years of pent-up anger and resentment from lions for being caged in such a way, but they’d be giving us the space to find greatness. To tap into all the POWER and ABILITY that we’ve been blessed with. And that would leave them vulnerable and open to be hunted. As natural predators, lions cannot help but prey. Those watchers know this ability must be harnessed. This ability must be confined. It’s for the betterment of their own survival.
And so often, lions, people who are full-of-power, monstrously amazing creatures, live minimally. We drudge. Weak/tired-eyed, we live on, earnestly making a living. Doing just-enough to get by. We think, it’s still good to at least have them watching us, right? So, we give them passes to stand there watching our un-fulfilled potential.
At one point one of the ladies in the background says: “that’s gotta be a lot of power…” . How often do people give compliments or make mention of our own abilities that we’ve given up on. How many of us know that there’s more to our living than we’ve allowed, like the unfortunate lion in this clip. We sometimes become so comfortable, and complacent, that it’s almost easier to allow others to “watch” our calm, day-to-day reserve instead of continuously pawing on the glass. We no longer have the hope that fuels our desires. We no longer feel our spirits aflame with the confidence in what we know we’re meant to be. Now we cower at the glass because we know it’s always been there. No need to constantly fight and tire and wear ourselves out. It’s a wasted effort.
Powerful and mighty, we remain behind the glass while others watch us, mocking our unspent ability thinking : Gosh, he/she is amazingly powerful, too bad nothing’s being done about it.
What’s real is that you and God are the only two that know your strength. But even without taking this consideration, far too many of us are watching the lives of others play out. Whether they are lions still caged in, or lions that find themselves back on the African Plains righteously reigning as they were purposed to do. We sight-see because its easier to look at someone else, than to do some introspection of our own! Unfortunately, I personally would be akin to the tigers or panthers that I assume are probably in the next cage over. As a writer, I am the far-from-omniscient 3rd party that is simply standing in the shadows watching this zoo scene play out. Though I’m presenting this to you, in truth, I’ve got my own cage to overcome or digress to.
What upsets me most isn’t that the girl is watching. Nope, that is a given; there will always be watchers. But it’s that she and her counterparts have watched for so long and have gotten so comfortable in their view that they no longer appreciate what they’re seeing. There’s no fear, respect, and sheer AWE for such a beast. The lion is caged in. How much POWER is in that? It’s okay that they are watching, we’re past that. I write to merely point out that, like this mild-mannered lion, through our behavior we’ve sometimes allowed others to have a distorted view of what they see.
This is not a challenge to tap into your potential. This is not a call-to-arms to fight for your rights as an employee, as a citizen, or even as a friend. This is simply a reminder that you are “POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE” (Nelson Mandela) and if others are going to be watching us all-along, caged or not, let’s make sure we constantly remind them of that.
And finding real power isn’t very hard to do…
I know lions. I know me and I know you!