I heard a wonderful true story this week of a pastor visiting his rabbi friend. The rabbi asked how he was doing. The pastor described how they had sent out the pipes to the organ for cleaning, an extremely expensive task. They had paid a fellow the down payment for the work, many thousands of dollars. But the man was not doing the work. Their efforts to press him to fulfill his agreement had yet to yield any result. The congregation was upset. The organist was especially frustrated. But the pastor was focused on finding a solution. He said: “I am not predisposed to a crisis.”
When I was in eighth grade, a friend’s mother was driving my friend and me downtown for a movie. Suddenly their car began to make a terrible noise. I was prepared for some anxious or frustrated response. Instead, the words the mother spoke, in the most calm, undisturbed tone, were: “Well, isn’t that interesting.” And she drove to a nearby gas station, where she proceeded to get some assistance. I was astounded: a problem need not engender an automatic response of agitation??
Having spent the past week dealing with various technical issues, I really needed the pastor’s story. I feel totally incompetent where computers and phones are concerned. When something goes wrong, my initial response is to panic. It takes a lot to marshal my energies and direct them in a more constructive manner. I spent the week affirming, “You can do this, Kate. You can learn how. Reject intimidation. This does not have to be scary. “
When I put this in context, my fear of technology seems laughable. Many face much more difficult situations and maintain their determination to succeed. Think The Pursuit of Happyness, the 2006 true story movie about Chris Gardner, the 27 year old homeless man whose wife leaves him with their 5 year old son. Time and again this faithful and determined father encounters setbacks, but he ultimately becomes a successful broker
Actually, my father serves as a model closer at hand for this. From the time he began as a 17 year old printer apprentice on a newspaper to age 59, he worked in “hot type.” At age 59, the paper switched to “cold type.” He talked to me about how uncertain he was, how daunting it was at age 59 to learn a new system. He articulated that he was worried that at his age there would be no work available to continue through retirement if he couldn’t learn this new method. He could have succumbed to crisis mentality. But in fact, he successfully made the transition and did not retire until age 70.
Next time you encounter a formidable task, consider this mantra: “I am not predisposed to a crisis.”
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: “Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional.”—thepowerof positivity.com