I am serving as the executor of my father’s estate. Since my degree is in theology rather than jurisprudence, its been a steep learning curve. Here are but a few experiences along the ofttimes perplexing way.
When I called companies to cancel services, most representatives expressed heartfelt condolences over my father’s death. One woman in particular sighed and said, “I wouldn’t know what to do if I lost one of my parents.” I learned the simple kindness of strangers possesses an impact beyond proportion to their words.
Other exchanges felt much more transactional. After waiting on hold for 50 minutes (yes, I counted!), an ATT operator finally deigned to disconnect my father’s land line, which the company assigned us in 1973. She brusquely handled the request without a sympathetic word.
Another interesting exchange occurred with Xfinity (Comcast in sheep’s clothing). After only a 40-minute hold, I spoke with a representative who spoke English as a third language. The woman declared the company required my father’s death certificate to CANCEL CABLE TV! Since the account was still in my mother’s name, I would need to submit her death certificate from 2013, too!! Thirty minutes later a slightly less insane supervisor finally approved the cancellation.
Discover proved to be my best encounter. My father worked in management with Sears-Roebuck and obtained one of the first Discover credit cards. The agent expressed her appreciation for his loyalty and sorrow over my loss. She cancelled the card immediately and mailed his accumulated, cash rewards.
Pastoral care does not require education, degree, or experience. However, it does involve compassionate people who care deeply for those who are hurting. We may never know how much a simple word, text, call, card, or email may mean in another’s life.
A credit card representative helped me re-discover this simple truth.