7. Saratoga

“Belonging is for becoming.” –Jean Vanier

During my last semester at Wheaton College I spent every Monday with Dana, Christian, Tyler, and our fearless leader, Steve. We wanted to learn how to lead. We devised a class, so to speak, and we met weekly to share a meal, discuss literature on the subject, and challenge one another to grow.

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of leadership. What makes one qualified to lead? What are the characteristics of a truly gifted leader?

I can’t say that I haven’t been fallen prey to one too many BuzzFeed articles, each titled something along the lines of, “10 Qualities of Highly Successful Leaders,” and “8 Habits of a Leader.” I always wanted there to be easy answers. However, during that spring semester, my concept of leadership became increasingly complex, rich, and in many ways unresolved.

One gift that I was given over those months was the gift of belonging. We all had a seat around the table with equal opportunity to learn and to speak. It was a place where we shared ideas with vulnerability and encouraged each other with charity.

I learned experientially that the best kind of leader never stands alone or aloof. In the context of community we learn how to listen, and leadership becomes less about the leader and entirely about the led.

I would be a poorer woman if it were not for these four. This week we reunited, on a Monday night no less, to celebrate the unique opportunity we had to learn together, and to toast to the fruit it has born in each one of our lives.

Saratoga Recipe

1 oz. Rye Whiskey

1 oz. Brandy

1 oz. Sweet Vermouth

3 dashes orange bitters

Orange peel for garnish

Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Garnish with orange peel.


Dana is in fact a current Wheaton student. For those of you who might be worried, fear not, a mock-tail was crafted in her honor. It will be featured soon.


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