The situation was well progressed. The lady, American by her accent and behavior, was frustrated, lost, and very angry. It was clear that she did not think her complaint was being heard. She did not understand why she needed to complain. The event should not have occurred. She had run out of examples and words to communicate her point. The only option left was to go American! This included raising her voice, letter her emotions out on full display, and staying singularly on point no matter what the rep offered as an explanation or solution.
It was an ugly situation that was getting worse. As sympathetic as I was to her situation having been in the situation and responding as she was responding right now, I wished I knew another way. Even if one is right, this is not the best way to resolve the problem. I cannot help but feel that there is a way to respond, work towards a resolution, and be considerate, respectful, and in control.
Experience tells me that her response model leads to results. I wonder, in context of greater values, if it is worth the cost. If I take the time to remember what happened within myself, I find that I lost touch on some of the values I hold closest to my heart – specifically compassion, mercy, and community. Whatever I was doing, it was not making the world a better place.
I wonder about my role when others are looking to me for answers. Have I demonstrated that they have been heard? Do they know I understand the heart of their complaint? Are we working together to find a solution or moving as adversaries?
Problems usually push both sides into reactive positions. The question posed by a writer raises the potential of an alternative. “Others demand plenty from you in these ways. Don’t we who have never demanded deserve even more?” (1 Corinthians 9.12a)
I can react to the aspirations of making the world a better place. Alternatively, I can play a proactive role in the moment at hand.