A Snack for the Spirit – “User Error”   3 comments


I listened to many songs while pumping it out on the elliptical at the gym.  One song, whose lyrics were sung by a little girl, stood out above all the rest – I’d heard them before but something was different — I was hearing these words with my heart.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The spirit pulled on invisible strings at the corners of my mouth forcing a smile.  I pumped harder and my heart rate quickened.

Later that day an unexpected phone call came from Comcast Cable asking for Accounts Payable.

“That would be me,” I said with pride knowing I was diligent about paying bills due at the middle and end of each month.

“You have an overdue balance,” the woman who identified herself as Corrine had said.

After double-checking my check register and then online banking to make sure the payment had cleared I was transferred to someone else to dig a little deeper.

“My name is Zollin. How are you today?”

“Just fine Zollin,” I said, again feeling self-assured and even added,  “My business has three Comcast accounts — maybe the payment was applied to a different account.”

After a brief silence Zollin said, “You submitted the payment to the wrong account.”
I could feel my neck hairs bristle.  How is it that only in these moments do I become aware that I even have neck hairs?

“Who could I blame? Why would I?” I thought.

“User error,” I said.

“You’ll need to resubmit the payment now to the correct account to avoid a temporary disconnect,” he said.

“Wasn’t admitting my error enough?  Couldn’t they just work it out with my misapplied payment? I had to pay again?” I thought.

I decided to bypass muscle spasms associated with unnecessary battles like this one and opt for peace.  It seems the more willing I become to take responsibility for things going awry the more user error applies.

After I made the payment Zollin asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you today, Doreen.”

“Yeah…you pray for me and I’ll pray for you.  ‘Cause that’s how it works,” I answered.

“Ooh, that’s so good,” he said.  “I was just reading my bible.”

“What were you reading?” I asked.

“Isaiah 40:30, 31,” he said.

“Read it to me.”

“Read it to you?”

“Yes.  Isaiah 40, right?”

“Okay….Here goes, ‘Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’”

I told Zollin how I heard those very words earlier in the day and I thanked him.

At one time I thought that admitting a mistake was heavy and shameful. I now believe that the truth is light and God’s strength is within me to give me courage in spite of what I sometimes think. This is what makes me strong.

User error means nothing more than try again.

Posted January 17, 2011 by doreenbirdsell in Snacks for the Spirit

3 responses to “A Snack for the Spirit – “User Error”

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  1. You made me cry AGAIN. As I age and my “user errors” become more frequent I have to forgive myself every day, many times a day, and know that it humbles me and makes me a better person and more forgiving of others. I am grateful for the reminder and I am not a frequent reader of the Bible so I appreciate your reminders. Blessings!


  2. I love this story. You cant make thia stuff up. Beautiful …


    • You sure can’t – thanks for reading and being someone who “gets it” 🙂

      Doreen Birdsell doreenbirdsellstudios.com birdsellpictures.com NYC 212 279-2900 Westport, CT 203 226-2246 PTown, MA 508 487-4480


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