Recently, I was on a cruise to Cozumel and witnessed a disgruntled passenger during an evening meal in the dining room. Obviously, we experience disgruntled people on a daily basis, but this particular time I took mental note as I observed the behavior of the man, his wife, the crewmembers and all of the people who he obviously affected during this unpleasant situation.
The scene was set for a fancy dinner complete with chair pulled out, napkin placed in your lap, appetizers, main entrees, dessert, crumbs neatly swept from the table before serving each course and willingness to exchange any menu item that did not meet expectations for any other item of choice.
The man mentioned ordered his prime rib and crusted salmon for his wife. The man requested horseradish sauce for his prime rib to be informed by his waiter that they did not have any onboard. The man was demanding that this was surely not the case and told the waiter to check again, because everyone knows you do not serve prime rib without horseradish sauce.
Upon the waiter’s return and again the response that indeed the ship did not have any onboard, the man became loud and obnoxious demanding that one of the other restaurants aboard would have some. He began to snap his fingers in the air summoning the head waiter as he called out for him to come immediately to his table, all within arm’s reach from our table and other’s on all sides.
By this time, we all had been pulled into the horseradish horror high-seas drama, and our quiet meal turned into a flock of waiters trying to keep this man calm. Not only did the man not get his horseradish because obviously the Coast Guard could not be summoned to deliver this man’s request, but his wife had now found dissatisfaction with her dinner. The man did not seem the least bit concerned about the other guests he had pulled into his drama.
After the man left, I discovered the woman sitting alone closest to him that he pulled into his “horrific” situation was facing her own horrific situation. She had planned a surprise cruise for her husband and herself only to be told he wanted a divorce, and he left her to take the cruise by herself.
Watching this unpleasant man made me realize many things. First, the trivial things we often allow to upset our life unaware that those around us are silently suffering some of the greatest hurts they can imagine. No doubt, the lady would have traded anything to be eating dinner with her husband, with or without horseradish sauce.
Oftentimes, we transfer our unhappiness to the lives of others by bringing them into our stressful situation, yet our problem continues to remain unresolved. Obviously, there was probably a deeper problem bothering the man, but this was the final straw, and he allowed it to not only elevate his stress, but also create stress on others.
This was definitely a petty problem, but to tell this man this would not have been of comfort to him in any way. When we are told to be thankful for what we have, because others have it much worse. It is often not much comfort when we are tipping on the iceberg of despair.
This situation is a good reminder when stress attacks our life, we must work to keep it from spreading to the lives of those around us. Temporary inconveniences should never be allowed to destroy your smile. A fulfilled and peaceful life will always be one that controls its reaction when the actions don’t deliver satisfaction.
“What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? You crave what you do not have,” James 4:1-2.
Ann Haney is a mother to six entrepreneurial-minded children, ordained minister, CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist, empowerment coach and bestselling author of 20 published products, including her books, “Judgment Overruled,” “Exploding Into Successful Entrepreneurship,” “Single Steps in a Married World” and “Changing Your Life Through Couponing Financial Empowerment Series.” Ann Haney ministry’s vision helps women know the root of their challenge and deliver them from the death grip it holds on their lives to surface their inner beauty and confidence, help young people discover their God-given purpose and pursue it with passion, help men and women learn to use the resources available to them to overcome their circumstances and help those recovering from life’s choices and challenges receive second chances without condemnation. Contact Ann at [email protected] to schedule a speaking engagement, individual coaching or view her website for more information at annhaney.com.