Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An unfiltered life

[Recording located at end of post]
Yesterday was a mess. More precisely, I was a mess. Bad nights' sleep, rainy day, kid home sick and, besides, honestly, I am usually a bit beat up the Monday after Artsy Fartsy. It's such a joyous occasion, but it takes an incredible amount of planning, orchestration and running around. And the kids ask me why it's not every Saturday!

Last-minute, I opted to work from home with Lily and her tummy ache. So, after yoga, I scooted to the studio to retrieve what I would need and hunker down. Switched on the laptop and the disk said almost full, so I did some house-cleaning. Before I hit empty trash, I inspected the folder and discovered my most precious, irreplaceable files (clients and grants, chapters of my book, blogs, etc.) in the trash. Phew. Good thing I never empty it without checking. Did my duty only to discover that my largest iPhoto stash got swept out. Dilly-dallied with paying $100 to retrieve them, but decided it was a purge and that anything prized was on my desktop. Still, not a great way to begin the day, let alone the week.

A little edgy, I decided, between waiting on Lily with this stomach-tolerant snack and that, to move onto the next task, one I had been belaboring for weeks. And that was call Cincinnati Bell for the third conversation about getting Zoomtown installed for some neighbors that my Quaker Meeting (Cincinnati Friends) and neighborhood had generously donated enough to purchase, along with a computer and printer. Even have a carton of computer paper to boot, thanks to the leftovers from the local Obama headquarters.

There had been confusion over the address as the church next door, which owns the neighbor's house, was listed at the same location. Church officials had cleared it up, so I decided, once again, to attempt to order online. I had been impeded with a "pending" notification when I typed in the address. This time it said there was no such place. Here we go again,  I thought as I dialed. I left my number for a call back. The phone rang and I waited some more. Adam answered and then I launched into my plight. It had been awhile since I'd heard anything, so I checked my phone screen: disconnected.

This would have been the third salesperson to whom I'd spoken about this matter. I hung up, screaming at God to make this easier. I'd been working on this since before Christmas.

I googled Cincy Bell's marketing director and, eventually, landed on a phone number for community relations. If this wasn't community relations, I wasn't sure what was. A live voice answered after two rings and actually listened to me! She said she was e-mailing the call-center boss and someone would get back to me. 

In the meantime, I swung by to pick up my high schooler from the bus stop since the Heavens had opened and all she had was a small, but, according to her cute, umbrella. Dropped her back home and went to visit the neighbors. In all these weeks of soliciting and collecting, studying, contemplating and buying to fit the budget, I had not yet mentioned it to the family. As almost all the ducks were aligned, I knew it was time to pay them a visit.

I pulled up just as the oldest, who happens to be an Artsy Fartsy kid, was walking in from school. I said I wanted to talk to him and his mom or dad. He furled his brow and I added, "It's all good." Dad took the news great and his son beamed, especially when I asked if he could be in charge. "Guess we'll need a desk" Dad sighed. "I may be able to find you one," I responded. "No, wait a minute, we have one." Indeed, he had the perfect, slide-out tabletop.

I asked if I could tell the mother. She had struggled for years with leukemia and I saw her napping.  "Come on in," she motioned. Then I delivered the news. She looked me dead in the eye, as she had all of those weeks ago, and said "Thank you, I can't believe it" and a lot of other very nice things. I think I spied a tear or two.

My phone rang with a call from Cincy Bell, so I took it and stepped outside. They were straightening things out, but I needed to collect a few pieces of information. So, I knocked and went back in. By this time, mom was in the kitchen as her oldest was cleaning out the freezer and doing a mighty fine job. She gave me another hug and said she had called her mother to give her the news." I told her you said you felt like it was God talking to you when I said we needed a computer."

She has this unfiltered way of looking at you, a very honest approach. In our snippets of conversation, pieced together around five children 11 and under vying for attention, I learned how little self esteem this woman has. She was brutally assaulted at age 14 and it seems like everything stopped there for her, including her education. She kept pointing to her forehead and saying how unintelligent she was. It broke my heart. "I never got my GED," she confessed. "It's never too late," I said and then she realized that with a computer and internet, it could be possible. Her being lit up.

So, who now cares that I lost some photos that I probably have duplicates of, or that I had a rough night and a kid home sick. This one woman just had a glimmer that her really hard life now has possibility.

Thank you, God.

• When I have given into unpleasant circumstance, what happens?
• And if I surrender it to God?
• How can helping someone else end up, often surprisingly, helping me?
• When Have I felt directly called by God to take an action?
• What has the result been?

My list of
ran a mile long

one thing after
another until

I reached the
breaking point
and just said
it out loud:

"God, why 
are you
making this
so hard?"

And then I
understood it
was time to
get out and shift
my demeanor.

God directed me
to someone with a
legitimate list.

And Spirit
gave me the
privilege of
helping this
hurting soul
see she, too,
is universally

Listen to this post:


  1. Hooray! You got to be God's angel today! What great proof that turning from self to selflessness let's God's way be seen.

  2. It was pretty amazing, though I am used to being more anonymous. God's way is always so much richer than I ever could imagine!