We’ve looked at what to put in our packs as we’ve traveled through a Lenten journey. We need to look at what was already in our packs when we started.
I sat in an extremely contentious meeting a few weeks ago. Members, arguing their points, were civil, but the tone of their words sliced like switchblades.
The leader tried to bully the factions into a consensus. I watched this unfold, wondering how a person could ever prepare for such a train wreck as this meeting?
I had a similar thought this weekend, as we were hiking high up in the mountains. Snow had obliterated the trail. Footprints turned around until we were following only one set of tracks. Soon, we doubted if this person knew where he/she was going. How could we be sure we didn’t get lost?
We had asked ourselves the same question: (how do you prepare for a catastrophe) a month ago, as we attended a class taught by a former Airforce survival instructor. Fortunately, he taught simple rules instead of goofy snake rhymes like: red, and yellow kills a fellow; (Which was completely useless when I stumbled over a snake with multi-colored rings a year ago. I almost danced off the trail, yelping at an innocent King snake.)
So we prepare by practicing. The familiarity makes the panic go away. Every soldier, sports figure, and pianist knows practice helps a person scramble up to the next step in ability.
In a perfect world, there would be no idiots where you worked. All trails would be snake-free and clearly marked. And there would be NO need for meetings.
Unfortunately, this meeting took place in the real world, but it made me smile as I realized each of us had practiced for this moment. We carried everything we’d ever learned to this decision-making instant. Good. Bad. Accurate. Skewed. We brought all of our life experiences to bear on our present moment. We eventually hammered out an unsatisfying agreement. Each of us had to give up something.
Like most folks, I try to avoid difficult situations as though they were snakes. But I’m getting better at putting on my big-girl cargo pants and “staying put” to sort the venomous from the non-poisonous situations. I’m finally learning it’s the rough roads and cloudy skies that will teach me more and fill my pack.
Someday…I might even start looking forward to the lessons.