I would love to tell you that I played the role of David vs. Goliath today, that I stood my ground against a corrupt system that needed to see the error of its ways. But the truth is, there was a little old lady who needed someone to stand with her, to ask questions on her behalf.
We’ve spoken about her before. She is almost 92 years old, living with her 68 year-old son who is blind. They were being evicted from their apartment because the complex was no longer going to accept Section 8 housing. She had lived at the same apartment for nearly 30 years, and the prospect of moving did not excite her. In fact, it terrified her.
Thanks to several friends, a church and The Community Chaplain group, the move was relatively painless. That is, until the end of June, when a collection agency requested an additional $669 dollars.
All of these facts led to my visit to her former apartment complex. The initial interaction met my expectations: the receptionist and the leasing agent presented a wall to be assailed. Rules were quoted, and reasons were given as to why they could not provide any help. I was trying to gain a hearing, but my walls were going up as well.
I asked whether the leasing agent had a boss and asked whether I could speak with him or her. To my surprise, she told me that she did and asked whether I wanted to speak with him. We continued the combatants’ dance, looking for an opening or a show of weakness as she walked back to her boss’s office.
The manager graciously accepted the interruption and asked what he could do for me. I would love to say that I immediately put him at ease and that he pleaded to fix the issue for me.
The truth is, he helped me lower my walls as he listened to my concerns. He instantly agreed that something was amiss and agreed to look into it. Before I even got back to the office, he had called me back, explained what had happened and assured me that the problem was resolved.
God was not guiding me toward a battle, but teaching me about gracious de-escalation. Most often, He is asking us to properly witness through a potential conflict. It is humbling when He resolves the situation while teaching us about grace at the same time.