Donny's Ramblings

Not "Practicing What I Preach"


On July 13th I purchased my iPhone. Because I’d recently had a house foreclosed upon and autos and other “sparkley things” repossessed, activating it was a frustrating experience. AT&T wanted a $1,000 deposit, which I felt was a bit excessive, especially after spending $600 bucks on the phone itself. One thing I’ve learned is that there are few things in life which are completely set in stone, so after speaking to several different employees and a manager or two on the telephone, the deposit was reduced to $500. That deposit is returned 6 months later if all payments have been made on time. “Six months later”, dear constant reader, is January 13th, 2008… just a handful of days from today.

Earlier this afternoon I was in Red Bluff, California at Walmart looking for a large candy cane for Caden’s stocking… you know, those really big ones that are two or three inches thick and a foot long? My search for the candy cane was unsuccessful, but I did find a few presents he’d asked Santa to bring his cat.

Next on my agenda was a present for my brother: getting his AT&T prepaid cell number transferred to my account as a second line so that he no longer has to worry about refilling his minutes. I don’t use all my own minutes now that I’m using the same network as the people I call the most. I’m building up quite the collection of “rollover minutes” and I have no doubts that Daniel can help me take care of those. I figured a quick call to customer service would take care of it, but I quickly learned that I’d have to go to an AT&T store. Despite the fact that his prepaid phone is through AT&T, a new simm card is needed. My favorite AT&T store was 45 minutes away, so off I headed.

My preconceived notion was that this whole process was going to be a hassle, and I allowed my attitude to sour as I headed to the door. Cort, the lucky employee who greeted me as I walked in, was friendly enough. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. Cort handed me a list of family plans, I selected one, and he started typing away into the computer. Just a few minutes later and something on the screen made him pick up the phone to call customer service.

AT&T wanted another $500 deposit for that second line. I was (ahem) a very happy man at this point.

Those who know me best can verify I have a sharp tongue from time to time. As a teenager, I remember telling my parents in cutting language just how much smarter I was than them. When I really want to make myself feel good, words are chosen to demonstrate my intellectual superiority to the person on the receiving end of my verbal barrage. I am working on this part of me. Today I lost that battle.

As Cort hung up the phone I put on my best condescending attitude and let him know that it would be nice if SOMEONE around here was able to do a little critical thinking, notice that I already had a $500 deposit on file that would soon be returned, and ask the customer service rep (or supervisor) on the other end of the phone if they’d simply apply that deposit toward the new line instead of crediting it to my account as scheduled on January 13th. A few more sharp words with a dose of “extra attitude” escaped my lips, and Cort was back on the phone, this time handing it to me so that I could speak with the representative myself.

As I left the store I felt less than proud of the hypocrite I’d been, completely forgetting to show the love for others I’d like to believe I possess. There was no way to take back my words, and a simple “I’m sorry” didn’t seem to be enough. Instead I walked to the nearby Target and picked up a $15 gift card. On the back I wrote, “Nobody deserves to be treated like that. I apologize.”

God’s definitely got a lot of work left to do on this creature, dear constant reader.

Oh, guess what? I still didn’t get my way! I must either pony up another $500 or wait until the 13th to apply that existing deposit toward the second line.

(Sorry, Cort)

10 thoughts on “Not "Practicing What I Preach"

  1. Knowing you screwed up is one thing, but telling everyone else about it is amazing. Again, I love the honesty. Merry Christmas Donny!


  2. Don’t feel bad Donny, it happens to the best of us. You did he right thing by apologizing. I hate it when my inner-brat takes over.

  3. I argree – we all blow it in many ways every day. The greatest of saints, no matter how deeply they’ve walked with Christ, sometimes “don’t practice what they preach.”

    You did the right thing, you repented and confessed of your sin, asked God to transform that part of you, and made admends with the sales rep.



  4. “For through the law comes knowledge of Sin. (Romans 3:20)”

    Well, the very fact of the matter is that, as much as we’d like to think that it is us who by our own willing and effort transform ourselves, in the end we are helpless. I personally tend to find myself more often than not identifying with the frustration St. Paul experienced and wrote about to the Romans (ch. 7):

    14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

    21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! 8:1 For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    So often we are told of how we need to improve ourselves, and so we end up rejecting the fact that any improvement is really the consequence of God’s own work to make us holy, and not the source in part or in whole. God ends up doing all the work, we end up proving the work that he has done. We bear the fruit that naturally flows from being attached to the True Vine – that is – to Christ (John 15).

    So, I leave you with the words St. Paul wrote to the Philippians,

    “[I am] confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (1:6).”

    In the Blood of the Child Born to Die for us,

    Vicar Drew

  5. It so easy to do and sometimes we forget we live in a carnal world and still posses the carnal mind we were born with. we all have work yet to be done. None of us will be complete until that day we meet our Savior in Heaven. Ive been known for my cutting and condesending words as well. They seem to come out of no where and im left standing disgussed with myself. There were times ive went back and did the right thing as you did and then, there were other times I just walked away. The point is however, that we reconize out fault, make it right and move forward. God knows we will stumble, but His amazing grace is consistant, even when we are not. This isnt an excuse to continue to make mistakes and abuse His grace, but it gives me great peace knowing that He loves me just the same.

    Thanks for sharing Donny! There is great freedom in being transparent as I know you are aware.

    God Bless and have a wonderful Christmas!

    Jeff Myers

  6. Donnie,

    If I followed your example, I would go through a whole lot of $15 gift cards, and ship someo f them off to India and other such places.

    Dealing with people over the telephone is not one of the things I do well. We do not do customer service very well in this country, and the fact that companies make you go through a dozen voice mail menus before talking to a real person and repeating the whole story doesn’t make things any easier. As a society, we seem inclined to treat people like pieces of machinery.

    But that does not excuse my reaction to the poor person on the other end of the phone, who is often not making a whole lot of money. It can be hard to remember that the person on the other end of the line who is asking the same questions you just answered twice is a child of God.

    This being Christmas, I cannot help but observe that according to Luke, Jesus was born at a time when the whole of the Roman empire was being counted. I suspect he could understand our frustrations. Now, our task is to respond as He would. Well, in my own case, I expect that will take most of a lifetime at least.

  7. Donnie,

    I completely understand your aggravation. I am one of the supervisors for one of the other cell phone network providers and you would be suprised at some of the things that I hear on a daily basis. Each call like this ends in a prayer for them (it just short and sweet). I am starting to discover I get less and less of these calls daily.

    We are not perfect. There is only One that is. Be thankful that He gives us the Mercy and Grace through the blood He shed for us on the cross. Enjoy the rest of your holiday season and just think about it, it’s less than a month away from getting your deposit back (I work for the company and had to pay a deposit myself so I completely understand). I hope your brother enjoys his new phone.

  8. Dear Donny,
    I much too know how much work is still needed on me too. Especially this last half the of the year…not very happy with myself either.

  9. Hi Donny,

    I understand that if you know that something needs to change, then your a step ahead of the game. When an opportunity to do something good is noticed and nothing has been done, at least it will bother us enough for something to be done about it next time.

    Fact is, love that is undeserved and unconditional allows us to know that whatever good we produce it will never be enough. But through the progress of continual living, we as a person will go further and deeper into new places we never knew existed.

    (Just my opinion with a touch of bible of course)

    I think that a person who works in love to another is sowing seeds into their life not just your own. Who knows what a person will amount to after experiencing a drop of love from God’s heart flowing out through you.

  10. WELL, this is Daniel. i read this and still must say i have a hard time telling you (my brother) things i want to say. even when i start to, it comes out wrong. you have gone out of your way many, many times, for me. i don’t understand why you have (maybe because you love your brother) but i am not ever gonna complain about it . lol. you always have been there at times of need. n-e-ways, i started thinking about a weird thing last night. i started thinking about these “angels in disguise”. you are my birth brother but yet you seem to be that “angel in disguise” that has numerously, literally saved my life. it’s interesting in many ways, you were so busy with other businesses before and didn’t have time for me (which i wouldn’t want to hang around me either, lol),but yet at the times i was almost dead, guess who showed up? yeah, you, and saved me. las vegas, hayfork, redding, and more than that. you just had that intuition (god gave you) and i appreciate you and everything you do. i just sometimes don’t know how to say things on my mind, and when i do, i just express them in ways that when they come out, the things i want to say, seem to make me feel and sound retarded. oops…(mentally challenged).lol.. i don’t know if i will be able to ever forgive some people in my life like you did and i know i need to but i just don’t know how to sometimes and other times i don’t want to. i know that’s not the right way but, hey, my “hatred” was there before i can remember. i never could control it and still can’t.. i am trying though. i still know i have many problems i couldv’e never solved without your help…… on the other hand, there is still many problems i still have, that i don’t know how to solve. the alcohol for one is my biggest. we know this. i will never go to rehab. to me that’s jail. you can go but only if you have a desire to quit. i have a huge desire to quit, 2 pictures on our wall is a huge one of my children, but i can’t and want to but the feeling i get from these things i do, i can’t give up easy at all. i have cut down a lot but still, i am what i am… i’m trying. i just wanted say that i love you for once. who cares who see’s this. i don’t. the garth brook’s song.. “if tomorrow never comes” well, there you are. you know this would never come out of my mouth. i’m too proud, but that’s it. if tomorrow never comes….. thank you for everything. i love you.

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