A Lonely Place

Posted: January 12, 2020 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

A bargain walls in Comic shops bringing cheaper price trade paperbacks into my hands I normally wouldn’t buy. This find was at Phoenix Comics in Calgary, and it was the fifth volume of Rebirth’s Detective Comics: A Lonely Place of Living, the third in what had become an ongoing trilogy that brings me back to my childhood.

Ah the carefree days of 1988. The Olympics in Calgary, Archie even made an appearance. Oh and the vitriol hate on for Robin II (Jason Todd) in Fandom espoused in letter pages and I guess at Conventions (I was 10, I would pick up Batman periodically but he wasn’t my fave, though the New Teen Titans was another story with a grown up Dick Grayson (Robin I) that I had attachment to, because I was Robin when me and the older brother played Batman and Robin as younger tykes). The fuel that led to a four part story arc, A Death in the Family…the carefreeness of 1-900 does Robin live or die phone lines between part 3 and 4, with the Joker laying a beating on the poor child, and an explosion…and… Not so innocent fandom chose to kill the kid (yes fictional, but do I really want to open up the psychology of that?). A year later in 1989 the psychological decline (agonosia) was in full swing. Batman was spending less time as Bruce, was become more risk inclusive and pseudo-suicidal in the pursuit of his mission, darker (if that was possible) and more barbarous.
What was happening?

One can say it was grief over the loss of his second partner and ward at such a young age. Yes this is true, but then in 1989 came a twist in a cross over with my New Teen Titans… A Lonely Place of Dying and the character of Tim Drake. Where Dick, Bruce and Jason came to the mission out of their pain, Tim was attempting to set the balance right. Knowing that one who is in trauma, and recovery is only as good as his social supports and healthy ones aid resiliency. Left in the darkness by ones self it becomes easy to be consumed by the darkness. Tim, was a toddler at the night Dick’s parents were killed at the circus, but throughout his young life he figured out that Bruce was Batman and that–Batman needed a Robin…so comes the story as he tries to get Dick back to be Robin to provide the health and balance and resiliency. Thinking outside the box, though not far enough outside the box.

For it was not an old Robin, but a new one. One untouched by trauma to lead them into heroics, a true bright bird to bring Batman out of the darkness: Robin III. The decompensation of Batman would halt, and resiliency would become intuit. For Tim, was bringing a Trauma Informed approach to his heroes way before those terms were en vogue: Safety, transparency, and person centered.

The third Robin was fun, he would face losses and death as his journey in life would continue. He would take up leading his own Titans team, as well as Young Justice, become friends with Superman’s clone, Conner (Superboy), and emerge into Red Robin. That is where we continue to see his out of the box thinking within the pages of the Detective Comics in the Rebirth launch. For Tim is not willing to remain static, or keep doing the same old thing, his mind was seeing down the road and the ripple effects of decisions and why…which led to bringing a family to balance out Bruce, other heroes within Gotham City for the mission, for support, for mutual resiliency.

Creating a tribe focused on health and the mission.

This trilogy got me contemplating my own roles in life. Building teams, looking at programs, systems. The realization that much of what many speak about systems planning and change theory my mind and heart had already processed through so when I do talk it is about the people on the front lines that leaders are there to support, so that the best services and courageous safe spaces possible can be created for true healing and growth into the them they were always meant to be if the trauma had not interrupted the journey.

This is the mind Tim brought to the work, first getting a new Robin online, and then later creating what he called the Belfry, a group of support and empowered to make a change. This is a key piece of leadership. The right systems in place to support safety, health and life long learning so that the right staff (that is the staff with the passion, heart and health for the role) can be equipped to actualize the role. Yes you read that right in my hiring processes it is not always the one with the highest qualifications or lowest dependent on the role I hire, it is the best fit for the organizational values that if we invest in will be there for the long haul, and eventually be taking over the leadership roles.

Hiring as part of succession planning. Knowing that those we invest in today will be leaders on the front lines, and down the line will be the leaders carrying the organization forward.

Do we as leaders understand that?

Or are we blinded by our own insecurities about what we need to do? Like Batman in Lonely Place of Dying, so blinded by the pain and wanting to take it all on, we create a zero-sum game that can lead to our demise and the mission ending?

Or are we like Tim Drake, stepping in to point out truths, resonate with the values, take a risk on someone new (ala himself in the role), and grow into it transforming the way things are done while maintaining the organizations core values?

Thinking out of the box, being values driven in leadership can be a lonely place. Yet, we one understands all the other leadership en vogues are simply tools to actualize the organizational values (which need to align with one’s own core values to be effective) we get healthy leaders, healthy organizations, healthy staff, and a space for healthy individuals to emerge within those we serve.

Are you willing to step into the lonely place?

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