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February 5, 2007
How kind the young woman on the phone was to me, as I struggled to find the cable we were discussing, amid the tangle behind the computer. The box sits on the floor; perhaps I should untangle everything and move it up on the desk, and set the monitor on top of it. Then, if something went wrong, I wouldn't have to rest my cheek on the floor and crane my neck to peer up at the mysterious welter of plugs and ports.

I kept telling her that I couldn't do it, that it was just too confusing, that I'd better give up and call someone in. She accepted my snarling without comment, remaining focussed on the plugs and ports. She was patient with my ignorance of her fluent computerese, descending with grace to my level: "Does it have sort of a bump on one side? You can disconnect it by just squeezing that bump."

After a time, she called for a restart and we waited to see what would transpire. Damned if the thing wasn't fixed. I told her several times that she was a genius, and that I would be happy to answer the survey that the company was going to put me through, in which I had opportunity to say wonderful things about the way she'd handled my difficult case.

It wasn't a difficult case, of course. It was an easy one. If I had known her language, she could have solved it for me in one four-word sentence: Change the Ethernet cable. Of course, if I had known her language, I would have solved it myself. Changing the cable would have been the first thing I thought of, probably.

But we don't know what we don't know. It's why we go to the doctor -- you're not really waiting an hour and paying her more than the rent was on your first apartment for a quarter-hour of her time: you're paying for what she knows, knowledge it took her years to acquire. an't believe I have to pay the guy forty-five dollars just to walk in the door,eone says about her washing machine repair service. But you don't pay him to walk in the door; you're paying for what he knows. Things you don't know.

Nope. Can't do everything by myself. Can't do much, in fact, except for a few things. things nobody does the way I do them. You, too: there are things only you can do and be, things only you know. Sometimes, you are the very last person who should be doing a certain task. And sometimes, nobody does it better.
This weekend, Feb 9-11 “A New Heaven and a New Earth” with Barbara Crafton, at Emmanuel Church, Southern Pines, NC
Life pours blessings on us, but it also throws us the occasional curve ball, and we have no choice but to catch it if we want to stay in the game. What has your life taught you? It’s guaranteed that you’ve learned more from the things that didn’t go as planned than you ever learned from the slam dunks.

This retreat will be about the death of one hope and the birth of another, about where healing and renewal are to be found.

Call the church office at 910-692-3171 for more information, or email at


Coming up:

St. Paul's, Fayetteville, AK, 2/17-18,, 479.442.7373

Community of St. John Baptist,Mendham,NJ 2/24, 973-543-4641,x 6

And more -- visit
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