In the AMC series “Turn” about Washington’s spies during the American Revolutionary War, there is a special moment that is likely fictional in content but true in experience. Washington is deeply dejected at Valley Forge. He has major life and death decisions to make but lacks the emotional strength to continue. It was a season of self-doubt in the face of major criticism from opponents.
After suffering a near nervous breakdown, he walks into the woods at night to ponder what his beloved brother might have done. Lawrence died in 1752. Washington idolized his brother and missed him deeply. Once inside the snowy darkness, he falls to his knees.
Washington: “Lawrence, what is all this, this war? Was it a mistake? Was it greed? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”
He looks up to see his deceased brother standing a short distance away, motionless.
Washington: “Answer me! I have done everything you have ever taught me. Tamed my temper. Sought opportunity and became a gentlemen. I’ve climbed and clawed and fought. Now I am respected, feared, hated, and worshipped, but for what? I’m not who they think I am. But for the love of God, say something. Please.”
Lawrence: “As always you ask what I would do, but I will tell you what I would not. I would never spare a murderer, nor lose Long Island, nor retreat at White Plains, nor be outflanked at Brandywine.
Washington sinks into despair as hears his failures listed.
Lawrence: “Nor cross the Delaware on Christmas night to claim a surprise victory. Nor have led a campaign against the mightiest empire on earth, but then I am not you.”
Washington looks up and smiles through his tears.
Here’s the point: leaders make decisions others would be terrified to face, and sometimes they fail. However, the God given wiring which enables a leader to make decisions is key to leading others to accomplish the impossible. Sure you’ve made mistakes others haven’t made, but you’ve also attempted things others have never attempted. Don’t let a few mistakes make you doubt your call or ability. You are you, and you have been uniquely placed, scars and all, at the position you serve. You serve by Divine appointment. Carry on!
Note: The scene mentioned above is in season 2, episode 7, about 33 minutes in.