Just When You Think . . .

UniverseJust when you think you have the situation under control, the Universe throws a wrench into it.

I was reminded of this today as I indulged in my daily, very guilty pleasure of watching reruns of Gilmore Girls. The episode entitled “The Incredible Sinking Lorelais” ends with Mom and Daughter both crumbling under the weight of the expectations they had set for themselves and what reality actually delivered.

Both business and ministerial situations do that — throw wrenches into our best laid plans. The measure of a good leader is how we respond.

We can let it break us, turning us into blithering idiots who direct the anxiety and stress outward and project it on to others in the form of anger, authoritarianism (pick your favorite form of autocratic behavior.)

Or we can pent up all of that frustration and energy, and inflict needless pain on ourselves in multiple forms of destructive behaviors, the least of which is staying awake for unnecessary hours trying to fix things.

Or my favorite option (in theory, not always in practice) — breathe . . . and let the Universe reveal where that proverbial “wrench” is intended to take us.

If you have ever planned a meeting, only to watch and listen as an agenda topic takes an unanticipated turn, there’s the wrench. Though my preference would be to get the discussion “back on track” (whatever that means!), we can learn a lot from these detours or changes in direction — not usually large things, but small ones.

What new thing did you learn about the perspective of a committee member? What obstacles or issues were named or hinted at that you hadn’t considered before? What paths and options are opened up now that this conversation has taken place?

I admit — this doesn’t work in all situations. But sometimes letting the Universe lead the way — and facilitating that as best you can — can uncover concerns, questions, issues, solutions, directions that had not be considered before.



2 thoughts on “Just When You Think . . .

  1. Roberto Bacalski

    “The universe” doesn’t lead the way. The Holy Spirit does. You’re speaking to Catholics. It’s OK to use Christian language.

    1. tbrown@catholicpublishers.org Post author

      Good point. It is the activity of the Holy Spirit in these situations. Thanks for the modification. I wonder to what extent it is easier to attribute these kinds of things to “the universe” and cast blame or vent in whatever direction you choose, and maintain a certain distance. Whereas when I acknowledge that it is the activity of the Holy Spirit, the options for how I respond change — sometimes quite dramatically. It’s easier to blame or focus attention on something “over there” rather than something or one that is so intimately interwoven in our lives, and beckons a response from us, a call that we cannot easily run away from.


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