Recently,I received the run around at a popular department store in Chicago (not Nordstrom’s!).There has been a longstanding mix up on my store account which has not been easily resolved. In fact, I have attempted to get it fixed on several occasions over the past few months.
To make a long story short instead of being directed to a person in the store, I was put in the corner and put on a phone line. After being put on hold twice, the account was still not remedied.
I left the store feeling extremely frustrated and even emotional. I could not figure out what specifically about the situation that could almost make a grown woman cry. After all, I can do without their inventory of shiny trinkets.
I had received a “gift card” for my birthday from the store. But kicker was that I had to use my store credit card to get the discount. My account had been affected when the store switched over their cards to another system about a year ago. As a result the new card was not properly activated. Thus, I stood with coupons in hand, an account, but with a defunct card. It is pure torture to wave a hefty discount in front of a bargain hunter in the midst of additional storewide sales.
I now know why it is called “Customer Satisfaction.” Because the real reason why I felt so terrible is that I did not receive satisfaction. The whole situation was not my fault. I wanted to be told that it was not my fault! I wanted empathy. I wanted fairness. But instead, I was directed to the corner and to speak to a voice on the phone, literally!
The feelings associated with this scenario made me think about relationships and situations in our lives where we receive the proverbial “run around”. A lot of times what motivates unwillingness to forgive someone is that there has not been any form of remediation or sufficient satisfaction. Promises might have been made that had not been fulfilled, Things might not be according to our expectations, we might experience a sense of entitlement, or even a genuine wrong that might have been done to us.
I left the store saying that I would never shop there again.I had said this before. But, I always end up giving it one more try only to be disappointed over and over again. Some of us avoid certain persons in our lives for similar reasons. We want to avoid getting hurt. We feel that we are owed something.
Too bad life isn’t one big shopping spree. At least with department stores we can get a discount and get account credits. While it is easy to blow off a department store, relationships are more delicate. After I went home and calmed down, I called the establishment once again. This time, someone took the time to listen to my concerns. I felt that I was finally being heard. In addition to that I ended up with a credit to my account for my time and “inconvenience.” Suddenly I was satisfied. Suddenly I even considered going back again.
Some might think not to bother. But some things one can’t put a price on. Some things have worth that can’t be thrown away, no matter how disappointing. While no one should ever give another consent for abuse, especially if it is life threatening, we still have to learn how to forgive if even for our own wellbeing. Scriptures say to forgive 70×7. And most of us know at least one person or situation that has us on number 491 in our book of accounts.
The important thing to remember is that forgiveness is not about how we feel but rather it is an act of the will. Also forgiveness is not about condoning an action or attitude but about being accepting of the perpetrator as a person created in the image and likeness of God. The Lord’s Prayer petitions “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
In this life we are all overdrawn on our accounts in the spiritual life. But God has covered it all. We need only to follow in His example of Divine Mercy.