Greeting the World with Curiosity
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” —Walt Disney
I consider myself a pretty positive person. I am notoriously good at looking on the bright side of things, searching for a silver lining, and “right-siding the ship,” according to my co-workers. I want to share two quick stories with you of how challenges and disappointment turn into something else when I greet the world with curiosity.
First, of course, a Westside music story. When I arrived to lead a “one rehearsal” choir for a service in August, I arrived to a church without power. No power meant no copies of music for the choir. And, thanks to summer vacations, we had just 4 choir members. In the spirit of curiosity, I asked myself - if we couldn’t make copies of the music, what music could we use instead? The hymnal, of course! I chose a little-known hymn that fit with the service topic, which we learned that morning. David Howell, the speaker for worship that morning, commented on what a meaningful choice it had been. Also, Gillie had arrived early with Geoff and I curiously asked if she would sing with us. So, as things turned out, we had a potential new choir member AND a successful shift to the morning’s music.
Second, a real-world example. I traveled for business in August and my flight was delayed, meaning some of us would likely miss our connections. As I approached the gate agent to ask about my connection, a harried woman pushed me out of the way and started a barrage of questions to the agent. She seemed angry, annoyed, and, honestly, a bit self-righteous. To make matters worse, when I finally got my turn to talk to the gate agent, I turned around to find she took my seat in the waiting area! I felt so annoyed, compounded by my worry of missing my connection and then missing an important work meeting. I sat down on the flight and tried to relax, and who should appear in the seat next to me but the same woman who had pushed me hours earlier! I could have been grumpy, or stoic, or just plain rude. But, maintaining curiosity and putting David Howell’s lesson of, “Is that so?” into practice, I just smiled politely and silently wondered what was angering this woman.
Next thing I know, this angry-looking woman broke down. She told me how nervous she was - it was her first flight in over 15 years. Every step of checking in and where to sit and where to put her bags was raising her anxiety level. What I had perceived as anger, as self-righteousness, was actually anxiety about being in the right place at the right time to get to her destination. Nervousness about navigating the airports and the upcoming flights. As our flight from Knoxville took its first bumpy strides in taking off, she hyperventilated. I supported her and talked her through both take-off and landing. I learned more about her job and family. By the end of the flight, I could see a noticeable change to her demeanor. She thanked me for the support as we ran off to try and meet our connections.
What will staying curious do for you today?
Make a joyful noise! Anne
P.S. If you’re curious about participating in Westside’s music program, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org