13 May 2009


This is my third annual interview day--a long day at work. We conduct interviews for prospective students in our Master's of Arts in Counseling program. They enter the office waiting area usually a bit nervous, unsure of what to expect. We ask them to arrive early to handle any outstanding paperwork. Waiting manifests either as a gift to slow down, collect one's self and pray, or it can increase agitation and anxiety. It is our desire to offer God's peace to those who enter this place.

We also serve those who conduct the interviews. They arrive early from our main campus a few hours away. Our "tradition" is to provide some sustenance in terms of food and drink so we order a light spread from Panera including bagels and egg souffles, some fruit. We provide water and coffee if they wish. We want them to experience God's peace as well.

Today I picked up the food items and as I set them out, I realized I did not receive my entire order. It was not a huge deal, as it was just a few bagels, but I called to let them know. Immediately they connected me to the manager who proceeded to apologize and respond with options for how they could take care of us.
Let me tell you, they went above and beyond as they not only delivered the items that were missing, they also delivered additional bagels and coffee. They earned my respect as a customer to ensure that I would continue to patronize their business. That signals great customer service.

Here's what I wonder...
what would happen if this were more personal? Let's say a friend of mine promised something, but it didn't happen. Or, how about considering our relationship with God. What happens when we don't follow thru on a promise to God? Certainly we don't look at God as a customer that we need to "win" back. But if trust is broken, how are repairs made? When someone lets you down, how do you work to reestablish trust and rebuild a relationship? Ultimately I wonder, how do we practice forgiveness in such a way that reconciliation becomes part of our natural rhythm of life?
I know this, it's much easier for me to take the coffee, eat a bagel, and consider things "good" with Panera. Somehow God extends that grace to us. But how do we receive that, and live it by dispensing it in our relationships with others?

11 May 2009

garage incident gratitude

Here I was, backing out of B's garage for a baseball game.
When, well, I noticed things flying.

On the side of the garage where I had parked rests a stack of shingles. And on top of that stack is a pile of wire and plastic grid-like sheets. The kind that when you put them all together, you can make a bunch of cube shelving pieces. Anyway, the things that were flying were these grid-like sheets of wire and plastic. Apparently I turned too sharply and they caught on my bumper.

My entire bumper except a piece or two on the driver's side was hanging off my car. I was so groaning, and so calculating the repair bill into the thousands. Again. Previous body work on my car when my car transformed into the driver less, horseless carriage (some may recall when my car rolled down a hill across a business driveway/intersection, halted abruptly and not-so-gently by a guardrail which stopped it from rolling into a gas station, all because I forgot to put on my emergency break when I met my boss for coffee at a local coffee shop), maxed at around $4k! $4k--for a driver less collision. (This was pre-blogging, apparently, as I searched for the story now and can't find it. Circa November 2005.)
Money spent on the same very bumper that now was dangling like a child's loose tooth, the major difference being I didn't want someone to yank the bumper to unattach it like a kid might want someone to do with their loose tooth.

My one regret in telling you all of this is that I did not take before and after photos. But this very morning, my love B, removed what was left dangling, took every loose piece apart, and reattached the bumper to my now happy Honda Civic coupe. If I hadn't revealed this garage incident to you just now, and you saw my sweet little ride cruising down the road, you wouldn't know.
That's how good it looks.
And that's how good B is.
Yep. I'm all shades of grateful!!