One thing I have learned very well over my time in ministry is that things don’t always go as planned. I am going to teach you a trick I learned a long time ago in one of my favorite jobs of all time.
When I was in college I had a summer job at a local living history museum, Greenfield Village. It was an amazing job! As a historical presenter, I got to dress up in period clothing and cook and talk to people all day! While there, I was able to hone my teaching skills (what I was studying in college) and have a lot of fun doing it.
We cooked in open hearths and wood-burning stoves and took care of the historical houses we worked in. Often times, strange things would happen. A common occurrence was having an ember from the fire jump onto my skirt mid-demonstration and begin to smolder on the fabric. A visitor would point it out, usually wide-eyed, and I would just reach down and pat it out nonchalantly and move on with the presentation without missing a beat.
But, one day while working there, I found myself in a pickle I’d not experienced before.
My favorite house was one that had a veranda on the back of it overlooking the river where the antique paddleboat took people for a whirl around the little island. It was beautiful. When there weren’t visitors in the house, I would step outside to enjoy the view and the breeze.
One day, though I can’t remember the circumstances, I found I had accidentally locked myself outside on the veranda. Hmm, what to do? It was a pretty easy fix, really, since there was a window without a screen that I could climb into. I had to ponder how to do it with some semblance of grace though, in case someone took that moment to enter the kitchen. I didn’t want the first sight of our 1872 era kitchen to be of the help climbing backside first through the window, if ya know what I mean.
I was finally ready to give it a whirl when I heard footsteps in the parlor. Well, what did I, ever professional Historical Presenter, do? Well, I stuck my head through that window and gave them my best presentation, which went something like this: “Hi there, welcome to the Adams House, please be careful of the stove, it is hot! This house was originally a parsonage from Saline, Michigan where George Matthew Adams, a prominent journalist in Henry Ford’s time grew up with his family. By the way, would you mind opening the door for me, I sorta locked myself out? Thank you very much!”
I am not sure what happened after that, but I am quite sure it was the same as the catching fire incidents, I just rolled with it. What else are you gonna do?
Well, when plans fail or things go wrong, you could cry or scream or throw a fit. I have done all of those things on other occasions for sure. But, the best way? What I learned to do at Greenfield Village: First, prepare the best you can. Then, if something goes wrong, roll with it with confidence. Stay calm and pretend you know what you’re doing and, finally, when you need help, ask for it!
It’s a good plan in life, in ministry and in pesky college summer job problems. Go ahead and try it! Just beware of jumping embers and doors that lock unexpectantly.