Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Where the fault lies

Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips
   and from the deceitful tongue.  Psalm 120:2

My conversation with customer support begins quite pleasantly. I give my name, explain the problem, and the voice on the other end of the line exudes confidence. Then we get to the questions: What phone number is associated with this account? What email address? 

I cannot answer. It has been years since I opened the account, and as I offer one possible but incorrect response after another my frustration begins to mount. I know the account number, the login for the website, and my online password. But none of these will get me the help I need.

And all at once I am no longer calm or pleasant. It is only after the harsh and impatient words are out of my mouth that I remember to whom I am speaking. A person. A person who is doing his job.  An individual who has been nothing but courteous to me. Someone who must answer the phone all day long, knowing that on the other end of the line will be exasperated people wanting him is to fix a problem that is not of his making.

I take a deep breath and apologize for my rudeness. And as the problem is solved, I thank him. I wish him a good day and hope he has no more cranky customers. And then I offer a prayer of contrition to God for my own deceitful tongue and need to cast blame. Perhaps my penance could be to be to cast kindness and respect instead.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2014