So in my job for the past month or so I’ve had to interact with a utility company whose customer service probably made it into the rough draft of Dante’s Inferno. Anyway, I’ve had quite a time working with this company to make a certain structural repair and I was more than a little annoyed by the end of everything with the fairly polite but completely ineffective service calls I spent hours of my life making.
So when I got a report that a similar repair needed to be done at a different property you can bet I whined internally at even the thought of starting the whole song and dance all over again. However, this time I placed one call to request a repair and my call was returned (a first) by the manager who was extremely polite and gave me both a repair time estimate and his contact information (another first). He was one of those good old fashioned guys who takes pride in his work and does his best to keep the promises he makes to his customers.
Afterward, I found myself having a moment of genuine appreciation, but also one of genuine humility, because earlier in the day I had completely roasted that company to a coworker in a way that was scathingly hilarious and at the time felt completely justifiable. Yet I never like when I go down that path because such an unsavory talent makes it socially allowable to say extremely mean things without qualifying yourself as a mean person because you veiled it in humor.
I mean I suppose it’s one thing to vent, I think few are truly literal when they are speaking in the heat of the moment, and it is also true that venting invites exaggeration by it’s very nature. But this is a slippery slope for me because I don’t want to fall back into saying things that are sharp and rather merciless and get away with it because it was funny and full of the snark that the world loves so much. Because in my experience when the world loves something that they know is wrong or mean they start to rationalize the behavior to make it acceptable.
As comforting as it can be to hear these lies, the truth is I always feel bad when I speak candidly without thinking and I always regret when I allow myself to be judgmental because I am annoyed at the person or corporation in question. It may be a very human flaw, but I never want to hide behind my human weaknesses by softening them as something justifiable or twisting them so I can remain in a virtuous light.
I’m Catholic which means I prefer facing my many, many weaknesses head on with the patient faith that God will help me overcome them and the joy that I am loved tremendously in spite of them.
And that merciful love is certainly what keeps me going because this process takes a while and I know I’ve still got a long way to go…