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No Dice #2

If you’re calling about your home service, press 1.”  The automated voice spoke into my phone.

I pressed ‘1’. This is my fourth phone call to try to resolve the same problem with our cable service.

I need a little more information. Please state in a few words why you are calling.

I did.

I’m sorry I didn’t get that. Please tell me again why you are calling.

I did.

What is the error message you are receiving?

I spoke it, clearly and slowly.

I’m sorry I didn’t get that. Please repeat the error message slowly, one letter at a time.

I did, at higher volume.

I believe you said xxxx. If that is correct, hit 1. If not, hit 2.

I hit 2.

Do you know you can get information on local outages via our website at …?

By this time I’m fuming and ready to swear (which I try not to do). I speak back to the automated server. “I do and I don’t care! Shut up already.”

Finally I get a real person on the other end. She is pleasant, and wants to help. She asks for the telephone number on the account and I give it to her–the third time I’ve repeated it on this one call: “408-765-8258″*. She repeats it back: “615-675-82558” (seriously!). “No ma’am, that is incorrect.” And I repeat our number. Once again she reads it back to me incorrectly.

Help me Lord!“Dear Lord,” I send up an arrow prayer. “Please control my temper. I do want to be Christ-like.” My heart rate slows as I close my eyes and remember my heart’s desire, which is to be like Jesus.

We finally close out the call with her scheduling a technician to come fix the problem we’ve had for the past two weeks, my four phone calls and their offsite resetting unable to resolve it. And God showed up. I wasn’t warm and fuzzy with the woman on the other end of the line; but I was civil and thanked her for her help. Isn’t it amazing that sometimes the little things in life are toughest to handle with grace. The repeated automated messages that become so very annoying after multiple calls; the poor listening skills on the other end of the line; the frustration with unacceptable service on something that has no eternal significance.

And yet, perhaps it’s as we learn to respond to these petty annoyances with God’s grace that we are also prepared to deal with the bigger, real challenges of life–the ill spouse, the death of a loved one, the wayward child, the loss of a friendship, financial challenges.

Corrie ten Boom, whose family hid many Jews from the Nazis during WWII, served in and lost several immediate family members in concentration camps. She once said, “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” I want to allow Him to use the little things to prepare me for future challenges.

How about you?

*not my real phone number

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