You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
The other day we parked in the supermarket car park for our weekly food shopping. As my wife had more shopping to do she left me to take the goods back to the car. There I found one of the rear tyres had a puncture. My immediate reaction was to phone the roadside assistance service to get them to take the tyre off and fit the spare. The problem then arose trying to get through to them. You see, my Bank provides roadside assistance as a “free” benefit on my account. Unfortunately that means ringing the Bank’s Customer Care Centre to access it where, of course one speaks to an automated system “Do you want to use your ten letter security code?” asked the machine “No, I do not. I am standing in the middle of the High Street and I have no idea what it is!” “Then what is your date of birth” asked the machine. This I gave. “We do not recognize that date.” “Why not? It is correct. You could ask mother if she were still alive!” “Would you like to speak to an adviser?” “Yes, that is why I am ringing!!” “All our advisers are busy at present but please hold the line, your call is important to us.” So we end up with the ridiculous situation of a grown man of 76 standing in the middle of the High Street hurling abuse at an automated phone system. I have never been blessed with an even temper.
My wife returned, looked at the tyre and said “Why don’t you take the car to the tyre fitters shop on the industrial estate, it’s only a mile down the road?” This we did, they fitted two new tyres and all’s well that ends well, even if my wallet is £200 lighter.
What is the lesson here? In No Man Is An Island. NY: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1955, Thomas Merton puts it thus: Silence is the mother of speech.
So before speaking, think, and before thinking pray. If only I had remembered those words I would not have looked such a fool in the High Street and the car would have been fixed earlier and easier.
By the way, it seems that I was meant to write this reflection since today’s verse from BibleGateway.com reads: ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.’ Ephesians 4:29 NIVUK
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years