I have rarely raised my voice in a public place (being British, obv) but I did a couple of weeks ago, at a computer store. “You’ve gone on to ANOTHER PERSON?? YOU PROMISED YOU WOULD HAVE THIS DONE FOR ME IN FIVE MINUTES!!! THAT’S WHY I LEFT!!”
I feel sorry for the guy now, but on this particular day I had my very unwell daughter with me in the car. I had a major voiceover audition 40 minutes away from our house, but it was also almost round the corner from a computer store that I’d been trying to get my computer to for months.
My daughter was on her third day of a foul stomach bug so I couldn’t leave her, but I couldn’t afford to miss the audition either. And I was right there! And I desperately needed my computer fixed. So after the audition, I quickly nipped over to the computer place and dashed in lugging my weighty iMac.
This was where I was coming from when the nice (and very young) man in the computer store (when I explained I had a sick child in the car and needed to be quick) kindly suggested I should go for five minutes and they would enter my computer into the system.
But I misunderstood what he meant. He meant “Go and check on your sick child, and I’ll set you up when you get back.” Not (as I thought) “and when you get back it will all have been done for you.”
So when I came back five minutes later and they not only had not touched my computer but had moved onto another customer in what had now become a long line??? I was furious! Couldn’t these people see that I-wasn’t-coming-back-any-time-soon??! That I couldn’t stay any longer because-my-child-was-sitting-outside-in-a-hot-car-on-her-third-day-of-VOMITING??!!
Well of course they couldn’t, they weren’t mind readers. And I was just a sweaty, panicked, red-faced angry lady.
I apologized when I realized my mistake, meekly waited while they entered my info, walked back to my sick child in the car, promptly burst into tears and drove home.
Sigh. Context mixed with stress, heat and hormones was not my friend that day.
Life is all about context, isn’t it? Nothing in one’s everyday life ever happens in a vacuum.
I’m a Christian so I believe my life happens in the hands of a loving God whom I have entrusted to be in control of it. All of it. And whose daily grace I embrace radically – especially on days like the computer store.
Two or three hard things have happened to me in quick succession recently: BHAM!; BHAM!; and BHAMM! If the context of my life were different, why might I not respond with fear, rage, panic, or despair? “Oh the injustice and randomness of it all!”
BUT. My context is that none of it is random or unseen. I live in the fortress of someone who is stronger than me, wiser than me and in charge. I can see ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ but I am not their pawn. I am safe, no matter what. And I never have to go out there and face it all on my own.
So right now I am standing perplexed about the present, but not in despair about the bigger picture. I am calm, I am enduring. I’m not enjoying, but I’m enduring. Because the owner of my fortress lives and – even as I write – is at work to redeem all of it. Even as I wait and watch.
Every last bit. Computer stores included.