What is it that they say about the best-laid plans? I ended up spending a decent chunk of my weekend on the phone with my cable company. If I may speak frankly, I hate my cable company. From the moment I signed up, I have been on the phone with them at least once a month to discuss faulty equipment, faulty service, gross overcharging on my bill, and—the theme of my Saturday—why they are four hours late for a service visit. To make matters worse, I'm stuck. My roommate would never forgive me if I cut the cable on principle, and while our landlord forbids us from having a dish, no other cable companies serve our area. I believe Smashing Pumpkins said it best: "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage."
Believe it or not, that's where I found my peace . . . pacing my house, singing the only line I know of that song over and over in my head. It wasn't the notion that I'm a caged animal that soothed me; it was the realization that my anger does not change the situation. I'm not saying I shouldn't fight when my cable company mistreats me. Nor am I saying I don't support anger. I'm actually a big fan of anger, though that's a subject for another blog. What I am saying is that by the end of what was supposed to be a Saturday of new beginnings, I found myself pacing madly all over my house, trembling with resentment. The repairman was gone, I'd already hung up the phone, but I was still rattling the bars, driven by the fantasy that enough rattling would make the cage disappear. I had blogs to write, a novel to edit, friends to call. I had a Great Hand of happiness opening the front door of the cage, ushering me out into the world, and I was still standing at the back, gripping those bars and snarling at some unseen force.
The cage is still very real. And while I'll always call my cable company and argue with them when my bill proves to be double what it should be, I still don't really expect that cage to change. The best I can do is say, "Yes, Smashing Pumpkins, you're right. Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage. I suppose I'll invest my emotional energy elsewhere then."
Now the only trick is finding the spiritual maturity to say such a thing. God help me.
Help me release.
Lay Your hands over my fists,
teach my fingers to relax,
to uncurl and spread wide,
letting my resentment fall away,
And leaving my palms open to receive
Your waiting blessings.