Story written by Silas Grant –
“If you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu”. Normally, I don’t feed into these superficial sorts of quotes and catchy phrases. But in this instance, this is one that is applicable. When we think of “crabs in a barrel”, we normally think of ourselves as the crabs being pulled down by other crabs. For once, let’s not think of ourselves as an item on the menu. Let’s think of ourselves as people at the table.
Let’s say at this table, we’re having crabs. I love crabs. You love crabs. We all love crabs. Who wouldn’t love crabs? And why!!?!? The most interesting thing about eating crabs is the work that we have to put into cracking and picking crabs apart just to enjoy what seems to be a meal that is not filling. But, we end up being more than full. We sit together and eat….because eating crabs alone just won’t do it. It’s something about being comfortable and sitting with friends and eating crabs that makes it much more enjoyable.
When we eat crabs together, we all eat them differently. Some eat everything inside of the crab. Others don’t eat certain parts. But, that never stops us from fellowshipping with one another during the meal.
I’m writing about this because recently I’ve been faced with the challenge of “picking through” messages, advice, lessons, and feedback from lots of people. I can admit that I’ve totally discounted some people and disregarded their words and suggestions because of one or two things that I don’t like about them. Sometimes it can be that they are too enthusiastic, unrealistic, pessimistic, risk-averse, optimistic, or overall they generally lack credibility in most instances. And a random thought about crabs came to mind. And I began to understand that in most of what we do all day, we extract and pull out what we need. In almost everything, there are the useful items and the waste that remains. And I am learning to extract what I don’t need from people and to hold on to what I can use from what they say to make; so long as it makes sense and is applicable to my life. The same way that we pick at crabs to get what we want out of them, we must pick through the useless and bad info to get what we need from people and things. Have you ever heard someone who has a bad reputation say something and then what’s said about that person is “He may be crazy, but he was on point that time”. Or “Often, he isn’t always telling the truth, but that time he was”. You’d better learn how to rightfully extract the info that you need.
The other interesting thing about the comparison between eating crabs and picking through what is being offered to you by others is that the experience is better when you are fellowshipping with others while doing so. Again, being aligned with others is a great way to increase the enjoyability of the experience. It’s always great to have a friend who knows the trick to “cracking the shell” or to tell you what parts you should or should not eat. You know what else I love: crab legs!! I love when I crack the leg in the right place and the crab meat is easy to eat because of how I’ve crack the shell. After a while when you extract so many times, you get better at getting what you want out of situations. But there’s always those people who don’t eat crabs or crab legs. And they don’t understand why people gather to eat food that takes so much effort. They don’t understand why you’d allow that smell to permeate your clothes and skin. They don’t understand why you’d risk cutting your hands trying to open a shell. They don’t understand any of it. And they will also never see the benefits. And that’s not your problem. You see the value in it; They don’t. But when it comes to more important things such as extracting info from people and things, they’d better see the importance. Don’t be a person that discourages others from extracting good info because our limited vision sees waste. Don’t completely write off people, places, things, or experiences as having no substance whatsoever. Something good can be extracted from all that we do. If we reprimand others for being smart enough to sift through the waste to extract what’s good and discard the waste, we end up being on the menu and not at the table. Just another crab…..in a barrel.
Photo courtesy of Visit Dorchester