The following is a devotional thought from Jim Abernathy. Jim is pastor of the Westwood Baptist Church in Springfield, VA. I always appreciate the wit and wisdom in his writing. I especially enjoyed his thoughts which mirror the frustration most of us have experienced when seeking to use the technology available to us. And Jim’s suggestion for dealing with the irritation which so frequently accompanies these man-made marvels is certainly on target. RMF
Technology is wonderful…when it works! I spent a few hours with some new friends today trying to get the cell phone I just purchased to work. Two technicians worked on it for forty-five minutes before they pronounced the phone defective and sent me out with a loaner phone while they got another of the model I wanted from another store. I came back a few hours later and met more new friends since the ones who helped me earlier in the day had now gone home. The new friends had the same luck that their predecessors had in trying to establish existing email accounts on the new phone. After trying for nearly an hour, the salesperson put me on the phone with the company representative. Thirty-seven minutes later he finally figured it out and emails started flooding in. I gathered up the box, manual, and other goodies that went with the phone and got in my car to go home. Before I left, however, I thought I would see if there were any emails that needed immediate response. The phone has a touch screen, so I touched the email icon and it opened to show me several emails that had come in. One by one I touched each email on the screen, and one by one, they did not open. I pushed an auxiliary button that offered specific commands and I touched “open” but nothing happened. With teeth firmly gritted, I got out of the car and approached the poor woman who had been working with me and tried to calmly tell her my dilemma. She tried to open the emails, but nothing happened. She pulled the battery to reset the phone (which took another several minutes to come back to life) but the emails could not be opened. It was then, after all that had been invested over the afternoon and evening, that she stared at the phone in disgust and told me that she had never sold this particular model and that in her opinion, the company that manufactured the phone was in real trouble.
Now when you have invested a good part of the day working with folks who cheerfully sold you the product that now condemn it, it is certainly a less than satisfactory buying experience. The store was near closing and I was near the peak of frustration, so I took the phone to see if, in reading the manual, I could find the problem. Of course, I assumed there was a manual inside the box. Foolish assumption on my part. There was a fold-out “how-to” guide with lovely pictures that instructed me to do what I had already done. It still didn’t work. The fold out “how-to” guide was missing one important subject that all good manuals should have…TROUBLESHOOTING!!!! I suppose, however, that these new “smart phones” make troubleshooting obsolete…or so it might be thought. Maybe it’s me that’s obsolete. No, that can’t be, for most of the difficulty was incurred by the technical staff of the store. Perhaps the smart phone has finally outsmarted the user.
So, I have been practicing my deep breathing exercises, trying not to be overcome by my frustrations over what seemed to be such a simple thing…getting a new phone. I have quoted scripture, hummed familiar hymn tunes, done everything I can to keep the evil phone spirits at bay. Tomorrow morning I will go back to the store, take advantage of their fourteen-day return policy, and choose a very different phone, perhaps one a little less smart.
How do you handle frustration? The Psalmists often spoke of the storms of life that so often brought frustration, worry, and fear. In the 46th Psalm the writer speaks of God as refuge and strength, even when the struggles mount. His conclusion is a powerful tool for facing the frustrations of life…”Be still and know that I am God.” Now I wouldn’t compare my frustrations today to the struggles of life that pose greater threats to our physical and spiritual well being. But even the smallest things can seem much larger than they are when you’re stuck in the middle with no help in sight.