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?


dumela83 said...

you let your friend steal her favorite coffee mug

Gracie said...

hahaha. nice angel. c'mon over!