The death of a loved one brings mind-numbing grief to the family. Mix in the endless forms to complete, offices to visit, phone calls to make—I’ve been tempted to ride off into the sunset a time or two. And then I’ve met people like Linda and Amy and Roger and Patty and Haley and Bob and Rodney and Dean who’ve come alongside to provide encouragement and guidance. With those folks helping me my spirit soared once again. But nothing prepared me to do battle with Suddenlink.
Americans love to hate their cable company or internet provider and most everyone has a war story to share. I’ve been steamed at the outrageous rates Mom was charged for a no-frills-not-even-voice-mail VOIP line and her basic cable. She was forced to pay Suddenlink $1 every month just to get a bill delivered to her mailbox. I’d already endured their insurmountable phone barricade as a dutiful son helping with issues. My personal recommendation was to cut the cord, convert the phone to a cell, and install an antenna for the local channel access. One Suddenlink-free month would cover the conversion expenses. But no deal. That landline gave Mom a sense of comfort.
Well, now, pilgrims. I’ve been confirmed as executor of Mom’s estate by the fiduciary branch of Kanawha County‘s government, and suddenly I have the power to unlink from Suddenlink.
After wading through phone menus with the press something if you need another language and press this if you want that instructions I fought the urge to scream at the phone. How could a company that makes its fortune providing a service to customers be so unconcerned about serving those customers? I repeated the trek through the options multiple times and finally netted a real human who informed me I had reached the wrong department and would have to call back since she was unable to transfer the call.
My anger boiled as I determined not to lose this war. I ended the call and prepared to redial. I felt a gentle calm flow through my raging heart. Wait! Stop! Hold on a second! These words I had read earlier in the morning came back to remind me.
for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:20
I also thought about one of my favorite passages from Proverbs.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Yes, I stopped and I asked God for wisdom, His wisdom, to handle the situation with poise and decorum. I listened carefully to the entire list of options and heard one I had missed multiple times. Inspiration struck me!
Shawn sat beside me enjoying her coffee while I spoke the magic chant into the receiver to select that hopeful option, “Moving out of service area.” I did not know one could shoot coffee out one’s nose with such force.
In seconds I was connected to a human with the necessary skills to handle my request. I explained that my Mom would no longer be living in their service area, and I needed help to terminate her service. The gentleman offered to connect her phone and TV at the new location, but I assured him that Suddenlink did not offer service there.
A second spray of coffee exited Shawn’s nose, and I had to shush her uprising laughter.
The process took only a few phone minutes followed by a short car expedition to return Suddenlink’s little black boxes. I had completed my executor’s duty.
I am certain that God cares about the little things as much as the big things, and He offers ample wisdom for handling whatever we face.
I am equally certain Mom has no interest in VOIP or any number of cable channels. She has other things to occupy her thoughts and days. Glorious things.
Out of service area indeed.