Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Makes People Magnetic?

I spent time with my mentor Bill today. It's tough to do on a normal day, because he has people waiting in line by the dozens to spend time with him, talk to him, ask him questions or seek his counsel. But this time it was especially difficult, because he just underwent surgery for colon cancer. Everybody on the East Coast, and beyond it seems, has been wishing him well for the last several weeks. The thought of a world without Bill struck so many of us as wrong and frightening and frankly, unthinkable, that even the waitresses in local restaurants were going out of their way to communicate love, support and well wishes to this magnetic man.

It made me wonder: what makes some people so irresistibly interesting? What qualities in some people around us bring us back for more and more? Why are certain people the ones we call when catastrophic or celebrative events alike take place? Why are we drawn to them so?

I asked a couple of my friends at Regent University--guys I trust, and whom I have seen draw others to themselves because of their strength of character and boldness of action. This is the list that they drew up. See what you think. What others should we add?

Courage: Immediately one of them said "courage." People were drawn to David in the Bible because of his courage. Not only in standing up to his enemies, but in confronting evil, and in the insistence he do the hard things himself .

Humility: The other gentleman added "humility." Peter the apostle mentioned it as a crucial quality a shepherd leader possesses. No one is drawn to a narcissist.

Authenticity: This one was easy to point out from the life of my friend Bill. He is himself no matter who is around... sometimes to a fault. He speaks the truth, and models approachability to both prince and pauper.

Selflessness: Knowing that someone who lay down his life for you, lay down his schedule for you, listen to your needs without jamming his agenda down your throat...these are the qualities of a selfless friend. They make my friend Bill magnetic, a beacon to those in trouble, who are hurting, who have screwed something up in their life, and are looking for an understanding heart and a listening ear.

I would travel for days by dog sled to tell my buddy what he means to me, and express how much we've lifted him up in prayer. My fellas here reminded me that David in the Bible drew 400 folks who were hurting and in trouble and inspired fierce loyalty in them for the rest of his life. He's a magnet...there's no doubt.

What do you think makes people magnetic?


Gary Sweeten said...

Warm remembrance of your friend plus a great teaching. I would add a non technical aspect, twinkle. Yep, a twinkle in the eye and the voice.

My wife has a great twinkle. Some call it Warmth but it is not just the ooze of emotions but a lightness of character that says, "I am with you even in the midst of this crazy, and sometime painful world."

Nic said...

wow this is great. very insightful.