When was the last time you really snapped at someone who you perceived was doing a poor job? There's nothing quite like the 'righteous anger' we feel, when we don't believe people are doing all they can, or when they don't seem to be carrying their weight.
As part of a project at work, I had helped send information to an individual in security who was to review the information and (hopefully) send back a formal approval. We were told that in a few weeks we should get the response back. But two months passed without much response, other than that the security folks were simply overwhelmed with work.
Over the water cooler (so to speak), I spoke with people around the office about how ridiculous this was. I didn't necessarily believe that the security person was doing a poor job -- I know they are severely understaffed -- but even so, it was frustrating to have to wait so long for something that should really only take a few days worth of effort.
So today I noticed that the security person was online in our instant messenger system. I dropped her an IM, asking if she had received my email of a couple weeks ago, and asking whether she could give me an idea as to how much longer it would take.
Her response: 'I have a son at Virginia Tech ... I was out all last week'
I read her response, and all the blood drained from my face.
Over the next few minutes, I asked a few questions, and she told me (still via IM) how her son is a civil engineering major, and that she was unable to reach her son that day, and she went to Blacksburg to search for him. She said those were some of the worst hours of her life. (Honestly, I cannot even imagine.) They finally found him, safe, but he was acquainted with some of those who were killed, and he was originally scheduled to be in one of the classes that sustained so many fatalities, but had to change his schedule due to a missing prerequisite.
Do I have to tell you how quickly my little annoyance about the security review disappeared? I mean, I still hope that gets wrapped up soon, but sometimes I have to be reminded that the world doesn't revolve around me.
So the next time you are get poor service somewhere, or a rude response from someone, consider for a moment that maybe that person is having a worse day -- or week, or month -- than you.
May God be with the Virginia Tech students and their families.
On a side note, what an amazing weekend I just had. The men's retreat was excellent -- if you haven't heard Patrick Mead speak, then you're missing out. And Michael Bridges led a couple of great worship times. Both Mead and Bridges have a way of adding humor to time with God -- I suspect that God laughed with us all weekend long!
And to have finally hired a preacher at Southlake, how cool is that? I have a sense that we are ready to see what God has in store next for Southlake.
And I have to mention the group of us who went to see FC Dallas play the Colorado Rapids on Sunday afternoon. Great fun.
In such a dark world, these have been very, very good days.