Already by the start of my workday today, I was fit to be tied.
Ignominy #1: A dripping faucet in my home-office lavatory.
Seems like the sort of repair that even a numbskull like me ought to be able to handle. Especially in the Google age, when step-by-step DIY instructional videos are never more than a few clicks or keystrokes away.
Instead of helping to solve my problem, however, the videos wound up taunting me. (I do tend to take these things personally, I’ve noticed.) Two or three different online experts offered reassurance that the repair process is a simple one: ‘Start by removing the set-screw that keeps the faucet handle in place…’
Only on this faucet, there is no set-screw. Not on the outside of the fixture. Not inside the handle cap. Nowhere on the device is there even the hint of a suggestion of a place where a reluctant do-it-yourselfer might begin the process of disassembling the unit.
‘Fine,’ I thought. ‘I’ll just suck up my pride and call a plumber.’
It wasn’t a minute later that I suffered Ignominy #2.
Logging on to my iMac, I noticed a pop-up message informing me that the subscription for my online back-up service needed to be renewed.
Simple enough, right? But a few clicks later, I found myself thoroughly confused by the plethora of ‘upgrades’ I was being offered on the vendor’s web site. None seemed like a simple re-up. And there didn’t seem to be any way to click ‘Renew.’
Fifteen minutes and two phone calls later, I had the matter resolved (I think). But the whole experience was deeply unsettling: I couldn’t shake the feeling that the back-up provider was trying to trick me into buying services I didn’t want or need. Not exactly the sort of relationship I’m looking for…from a vendor who’s supposed to be selling peace-of-mind.
Two frustrating episodes…all within the space of a few minutes…to open my day.
And they might have spoiled my morning entirely, if I hadn’t taken a moment to consider how Jesus responded to indignity in the Gospel passage I’d heard at Mass this morning:
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question.
The Master encountered ignominy all the time, it seems. His adversaries were forever ‘observing him carefully’ in order to spring the trap…and put Jesus in his place.
Somehow, though, Jesus always manages to keep his ego out of the equation. He does not take offense. And that seems to give him a freedom I don’t always enjoy – the freedom to keep on doing good, even when faced with a potential humiliation.
I’d say this is a lesson worth meditating upon. Especially when the alternative is to spend one’s morning feeling like a drip.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.