Thursday, July 21

Everything Gone Wrong, Gone Right

This last week was tough. I gave a fireside for my ward on Sunday. In the days leading up to it, everything in life just seemed to go wrong.

Well, not *everything* - just enough went wrong to make life uncomfortable, but not impossible. In reality they were all little, insignificant things. But the combination definitely matched up with the adage that blessings come after the trials.

My laptop was the first death. I somehow dropped my backpack in the parking garage, and the five-foot fall to concrete smashed the corner, ejected the battery, and messed up the ports on the HP laptop I've nurtured for years. It still worked, but only sometimes. Thankfully, I have some personal property insurance as a birthday gift from my dad each year. The insurance company warned that if the fix was too time-consuming or expensive, they wouldn't fix it. Or return it. They'd just send me a check to buy a new one. So I backed up the data and sent it in. They'll get back to me by the first week in August. In the meantime I was supposed to send artwork to someone. Man.

The air conditioning unit in my shop was the next casualty. Monday morning it just didn't work. The Soap Factory is a second-floor store, so I, my best friend, and all our customers have had to brave 89-degree heat while making soap each day. It sounds far less awful on paper than it was in reality. I almost bought an evaporative cooler. One day I bought 100lbs of ice and just set huge bags of it on the tables out front, trying to cool the room down. Our chocolate melted. Thankfully, after a third of the truffles in the store turned into mush, I approached a restaurant next door. They were willing to let us store chocolate truffles & bars there so the rest would be safe. The A/C tech our landlord uses was crazy busy, but he was able to make time for us. There ended up being two different leaks in piping for our A/C unit, which is (hopefully, as of 9:30 last night - 10 days after it went out) fixed! I am so grateful for air conditioning now. I should have given all my customers free ice-cold water. That idea came a day too late.

Then my phone broke. In reality, all of my charging cables broke, not my phone, but since it was at 10% when they all bit the dust, it may have well been the phone itself. I bought a phone off of KSL. It wasn't new, though, and while it seemed perfect, I realized after a few days that the battery life on the new phone was... about 2 hours on standby. And the cord the guy supplied me with doesn't charge the phone. I had to cut my SIM card to fit inside though, so there was no going back. I tried to buy a third phone as a replacement, but it ended up being locked to the wrong carrier. After talking with customer support reps for over 4 hours, I gave up on that one and just sold it again. I bought another (this is phone #4 in one week) one to try out a new carrier, but then spent another 4 hours attempting to get it activated. It finally worked, and I'm happy with the service, but the process was so painful that I'm wary of porting my phone number over. And somewhere along the way I had to cut up my best friend's SIM card, too - to appease a customer support rep who wasn't even able to do much. Being on the phone that long helped me realize something: I am so grateful that I work with happy people, doing happy things.

Institute was next. Usually I'm on time to Institute - it's a really important part of my week and helps me put things into perspective. Last Wednesday, though, the heat and the constant stream of customers (oh. And the broken phone(s) probably) distracted me until 7:35. I missed half of class and had to sit out in the foyer. Our institute teacher is so popular that his class fills the entire half of the cultural hall and overflows onto chairs and couches outside the doors. I had seen people sitting out there before, but I had never realized how hard it was to hear comments or participate in the lesson. And as I walked out of the shop, a huge group walked in, so as soon as the prayer finished, I went back to work.

Two of our three sinks were next. I walked into the back room halfway through the Friday rush and the sink had somehow emptied itself onto the carpeted floor, which was now sopping wet. I had dozens of customers, and no idea what had happened. I actually still don't know what happened. With *this* much happening, it was pretty obvious that everything that could go wrong, would. The sink in the front stopped draining, but an hour of alternating baking soda & vinegar (not really convenient with a full store, but whatever) fixed that. I mentioned to a customer that likely my microwaves would break next. Not both of them - because that would make work impossible - but one of them, probably the one in front, to make life a little bit harder.

Called it.

Saturday, after hosting a family reunion, our main microwave stopped heating. It still turns on, but nothing gets hot... And I definitely didn't have the time or emotional wherewithal to take it apart. I am ├╝ber-grateful we have a backup. Having to walk to the back of the store is inconvenient, but at least we can work.

There was more. Half a dozen flies flew in when we opened the windows and doors to create airflow. The soaked carpet added mugginess to the already overwhelming heat. The EMV chip reader on our credit card terminal broke. Someone poured a cup of soda into the carpet. I connected one of my interim phones to the wifi hotspot for a few minutes and it used over a gigabyte of data and suspended the store's data plan (which meant we had to create a hotspot from the phone that has a 2-hour battery life). The price we pay for grape seed oil at our current supplier jumped. I arrived at a grocery store to buy important supplies and realized I had no cash, and they didn't take credit cards. I almost got hit twice by people playing Pokemon Go in their cars. My best friend's mom went to the hospital for pneumonia. The brand-new sod in my back yard turned brown even though we ran the sprinklers according to the company's suggestions. And then I couldn't sleep Saturday night.

I think God really wanted me to be humble. And since I'm naturally proud, He had to do a lot to get my attention. I'm grateful to have a Father who's willing to let me go through rough times.

Hopefully it worked as well as He had intended.

The fireside was a huge success. The little front room we met in was packed with people, mostly from my ward with a few friends. I shared some of my story, then took questions anonymously (people wrote them on notecards and I answered them from my personal experience). We got through most of the questions, then ended and had refreshments. It was simple. The response, though, was enormously positive - both in person and in the days since.

Was it worth it?

Yeah. It was.

It's likely that being humbled made me more receptive to the Spirit as I spoke on Sunday night. Partway through, I got a question that asked for personal advice. I had thoughts about what to say, but, as sometimes happens, I felt that I shouldn't share them. I realized that while I was the one speaking out loud, God is the One who answers questions. He's the Source of light, clarity, and peace... and, in all cases, going to Him will get the right answer. And getting close to Him is the whole reason we have this journey. The fireside was His, not mine, and I'm glad that I could be there to watch Him touch the hearts of people I love.

In the days since, life has gone better. In addition to a now-fixed A/C unit, I've had some crazy awesome experiences with customer service that have made me smile from ear to ear.

But that's probably for another post. This one is probably too long already.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Rules:

(G)MG is how I write to you. Commenting is one way to write to me.

If you want your comment published: No swearing, graphic content, name-calling of any kind, or outbound links to anything but official Church sites.

In addition, comments must be 100% relevant, funny, uplifting, helpful, friendly... well-written, concise, and true. Disparaging comments often don't meet those standards. Comments on (G)MG are personal notes to me, not part of a comment war. You are not entitled to have your ideas hosted on my personal blog. There are a zillion places for that, and only one (G)MG.

And I'd suggest writing your comment in Word and pasting it. That way Blogger won't eat it if it's over the word limit.