Complaint Department

I’m doing my best not to use this forum to vent my frustrations, but there are some days when I come dangerously close to losing the self-control on which I pride myself.  This may be one of those days, so read on at your own risk.

Last night, I wrote a long diatribe about musicians who abuse their instruments and, upon re-reading it, decided not to unload like that on innocent bystanders.  So, that composition went in with the other drafts, material written, but waiting to be edited into a finished product suitable for consumption by casual readers who may or may not share my passion (or obsession, if you wish).  After that exhibition of restraint on my part, today I faced a day of pretty intense stress generated by customers, mostly not physically present, which stretched my patience nearly to the breaking point.  So if it seems that I’m complaining a bit in this little essay, it’s probably because I am. 

After a day jam-packed with other folks’ problems, I often find myself overwhelmed emotionally, unable to unwind or relax easily.  I really can’t explain it, but I guess I’m just a southern boy, needing to take life a little slower, calming down a bit between crises to keep on an even keel, but today, there was no possibility of that.  As I explained to a curious onlooker this afternoon, it was one of those occasions when it seemed that every person I helped “long distance” wanted a personal favor, with the expectation that I could accommodate every one of them.  “Can you ship this overnight for the same price as the standard shipping?“…”The Post Office lost my package.  Will you call them for me?”…”Can you play a demo over the phone for each of these six songs?  I’m not sure if they’re exactly what I want.“…”Can you stay on the phone a minute?  I have to go next door and get my credit card.“…and on and on, everyone wanting another piece of me.  On days like this, I often look at the Lovely Lady and ask, “Please tell me again…Why do I love my job?”

When a workday like this is over and the din subsides, I like to consider each of the interactions and determine whether my goal to serve each of them efficiently and with a servant’s heart was reached.  There was only one outburst on my part today  and it wasn’t directed at a customer (although it was caused by one).  I have apologized to the Lovely Lady and I think all is forgiven.  Overall, it was a successful day.  To my knowledge, each of the culprits, er…I mean customers, was satisfied with the outcome.  Tomorrow’s another day, and we’ll do it all over again.  When I consider the result, mostly I’m pleased.  Pleased, because my goals were generally reached and because I really do love what I do.

But it took one of my face-to-face interactions today to bolster my belief that I’m right where I need to be.  In between the two phone-lines’ jangling interruptions and the distressed email messages coming in and reassurances going out, a young lady walked in with an armful of guitar-shaped-objects.  I could see at a glance that the 3 instruments were all useless, unrepairable specimens.  But, as I talked with her, it was also obvious that she was in trouble financially.  As is so often the case, cash changed hands and the young lady was able to walk out with her pride intact and gas-money in her pocket, leaving me with the armful of GSOs to add to my growing collection.  Maybe it’s time for some house-cleaning…  

In the midst of a very stressful day, the Lord knew I needed a reminder to quit feeling sorry for myself.  I am incredibly blessed, with folks I can serve, work to do, and all of my physical needs provided for because of it.  So often I just need that kick-in-the-pants to have my focus shifted from my contrived problems to real issues that others face day in and day out. 

So, just ignore my complaints in the early parts of this note.  I’m doing okay!  The days really are filled with blessings and opportunities.  But, some day, I am going to unload on you about how I feel about people who abuse their musical instruments.  There’s just no excuse, what some unthinking….Yeah alright, another day…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.”
(Philippians 2: 3,4)

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