Sit down, shut up and listen
Child if you don't sit down, shut up and listen...
Growing up as an African American child in the Midwest, I have heard these words being directed to either myself or another child more times than I care to remember. However in my adult life, I have come to find that these are very simple yet very effective instructions for life - especially when we are in the middle of a crisis.
Let me explain...
I don't know how old this cliche is but I have heard it often enough in my adult life to be absolutely tired of it and unfortunately 100% believe it...
It is not what happens to you, it is how you handle it.
We have all had those moments where we are in the midst of a personal meltdown with a company, friend or even your mate and totally skip past the solution. Like what we thought was going on wasn't or the person not only makes it right but makes its much better. Then we walk away feeling foolish for the amount of our own ass we just showed. Trust me, it has happened to the best of us.
I can remember a situation that occurred during my journey home from an immersion experience that I had taken to The Gambia in West Africa. I went with Langston University under Dr. Mock. I went there under the working adult program that lasted 2 weeks not the full immersion that lasted 2 months. With that being said, I had been separated from my daughter for those 2 weeks. I missed her like crazy and I was more than ready to come home. I opted to miss a tour of Juferee in Ghana to make a flight that Dr. Mock had set for me in Banjul in the Gambia. I ended up touring the slave castles on Goree island instead which put empathetic little me into a really volatile state. The fight back to the states was perfect. However, when I got to New York, the flight that I was on was over sold. I got bumped. I was told to hold tight for the next flight later in the day. I did and I was bumped again. The AA attendant working the desk sent me to customer service to get yet another flight. After being sent to another flight that was again full and being bumped for a third time, I lost my shit - all over the airport. This was Pre-911 so there were no rushing security guards or air marshals just a crying and almost hysterical mother sitting in the floor in the Laguardia Airport.
I was tired
I wanted to go home
I wanted to see my daughter
I just kind of sat there for a while. Finally one of the agents attempted to come over and try to talk to me. I, however, did not want to hear about any other flights at that moment. I remember the whole scene. I was sitting literally in the middle of the floor next to the customer service desk. She walked over and began with "Ma'am would you please come back over and talk with me."
"Listen, I am not trying to be rude but would you go to hell. I am tired. I just want to go home to see my daughter." I didn't even look up.
She was an older black lady. She paused. She sat a bottle of water next to me and said "Okay, you can sit here and continue to pout or you can come and see what else I can do for you."
Hell, let's face it, it is hard when you are in the midst of some personal situation, when our emotions are flowing and our tempers are high to do anything but exist in those emotions. ESPECIALLY when you feel like forces are plotting against you. The "Why Me" pity party can cue up a full concert in your head when things go south. I believe that there are no accidents - things enter our lives for a lesson, a blessing or sometimes both. If you are not careful, the pity party will get you so worked up you might miss the lesson or the blessing.
Pouting.... Yeah she called me out. It was real. I could have gone off on her but she was telling the truth. So, I got up and apologized. She then put me on a first class direct flight home. I didn't even know this flight existed. It got me home at the exact time that I would have been had I made my first flight and the connecting flight. This was a blessings AND a lesson.
That really ugly (and now hindsight embarrassing) tantrum that I threw because I didn't get my way was not helpful to anyone. No one knew me - no one was trying to sabotage me - why did I take this so personal? Why did I give up?
Why should we ever give up?
What did giving up solve... Not a damn thing (NADT)
So how does this relate to the concept of sitting down, shutting up and listening???
Well allow me to change the narrative a bit and you will see it make more sense.
clear your mind
allow the solution to present itself
Had I just allowed the ladies to do their job, they had offered me this same flight earlier. Because I was stuck on my plan, I was not in a space to receive this information and there fore dragged this drama out longer than it needed to be. We don't ever know why things happen the way that they do. The universe works things out in a manner that is beneficial to us in some form or another.
Did I get home - yes
Could I have ever pulled off first class by myself - NO.
We get so caught up in our current ideas or plans of what things are supposed to look like that we miss other options - options that might be more effective than anything we could ever put together.
Have faith, trust that God, The Creator, The Universe (whatever you may call it) has your best interest and will not allow you to fail. It may not look like, feel like, seem like the solution you wanted but a solution will always present itself. But you must be open to solutions not focused on the problems. It is in the getting still, getting quiet and allowing the answer to present itself, that we find the way.