Humility is Hard

Something I’m learning a lot about in my thirties is humility. In my twenties, if I made a mistake, did something wrong or regrettable, or said something to or about someone that was less than kind, I spent a lot of time justifying those decisions or placing blame elsewhere. In my thirties, I’ve noticed I’m finding it not necessarily easier, but necessary, to own up to my mistakes and try to right my wrongs.

Allow me to illustrate.

Few things get me as frustrated and riled up as the costs associated with all things healthcare/ health insurance.

I could go on for days about the absolute hellish experiences I’ve had with doctors (no offense to my doctor friends, I just really know how to pick them, it seems), and again about my thoughts on the brokenness of the entire system and costs of healthcare, but that’s not what I’m here for today.

TODAY I want to tell you an embarrassing story.

Last November, I started having terrible vertigo. I’d only experienced this once before about three years earlier and it went away after about a week. But in November it kept recurring, so it was a little troublesome. I decided to get it checked out. A month later, I’d had multiple blood tests, a few hearing tests, a balance exam and an MRI.

What was wrong with me, you ask? Oh, nothing. Didn’t find a thing. Best guess is it’s migraine related. Now, had they started there, I could have told them that was likely the case. I’ve dealt with migraines and cluster headaches since I was 12 years old, so it would make sense that there’s a connection. But I digress.

Anyway, after insurance, I get the $1,500 bill. It sucks, but I know it could be much worse, so I make a small payment and plan to continue making payments until it’s paid off. Super frustrating because I feel like it was all a waste of time and money, (bless my sweet husband for reminding me that it’s worth it to know there’s nothing more serious wrong), but I still struggle with racking up a cost like this, even while grateful there were no actual findings. (Side note, I stopped drinking alcohol and switched to a plant-based diet in January and haven’t had vertigo since. Still plenty of migraines, but at least one symptom down.) But I digress again…

ALL that to say–I get a call from the clinic this morning telling me that I’m past due on my bill and if I don’t make a payment they’ll turn me into collections. I mention the payment I made last week. It’s not enough. I have to pay triple that per month to not get turned over. My blood pressure rises.

I’m a rational person, but this system makes me completely irrational. I quickly lose my cool and demand the minimum payment info. I’m not the kind of person who yells or cusses, but I do get incredibly snarky (borderline hateful) and take my frustration out on the woman calling me. I make a couple little snide comments in a clearly pissed off tone. I’m not nice. I’m not patient. I end the call abruptly.

Five minutes passes, and while I’m still upset about the cost and the payment plan, I think to myself, “You didn’t have to be such a jerk to her, though.” My stomach hurts thinking about it.

This poor woman’s job is calling people to tell them they owe money they probably don’t have to pay for something they possibly can’t live without. I don’t envy her. Maybe she got into the medical field hoping to help people. Maybe she took this job because she simply needs a job to pay her own bills. I get it. It’s not her fault the system is broken. I felt embarrassed and sorry.

So, I called back. I didn’t know her name (somehow I missed that in my blind ragey-ness), so I have to talk to two other people first to try to find the woman I’d spoken to less than ten minutes ago.

When she answers (politely, might I add), I tell her my name and that we just spoke a few minutes before. Her tone changes immediately, and I can hear in her voice that I was probably the person who ruined her day today, and before 10 a.m. even. It makes me cringe.

I told her I was calling to apologize to her. That I’d had a rough morning (home with a migraine, in fact), and her call caught me off guard and I didn’t handle it well. I told her I was sorry for how I spoke to her when she was just trying to do her job and that she didn’t deserve that. Her tone changed again immediately. She was grateful and said she understood, and we wished each other a good day. We hung up and I started crying. Why?

Because sometimes life is hard and frustrating, and sometimes we take it out on innocent bystanders for no reason, and sometimes an apology and some undeserved forgiveness goes a long way.

I guess my point is that we’re all flawed. Immensely. We’re bound to screw up and hurt feelings because we’re human. My hope is that we can recognize this in ourselves and in others, so that when the time comes for us to apologize, and it will, we can be a little more honest and sincere. And in the same vein, be more forgiving of others for their flaws and missteps.

It’s not easy to give or accept an apology. But the more I learn the hard lessons of humility, grace, and forgiveness, the more grateful I am for them.

P.S.

It had been more than a year, so it was time for My Life, Elevated to get a facelift! I hope you like the new look–please let me know your thoughts, so I can best accommodate you. And be sure to check out my updated “About the Blog” page, too, for some new insights on the girl behind the blog.

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