My seminary, in an effort to get out ahead of the USPS delays, sent out Christmas cards to alums. You wouldn't believe some of the blowback they've received from people upset that - of all things - they received a Christmas card too early. Can you believe that? I know an awful lot of people in an awful lot of businesses and organizations who are working so hard, giving so much time and energy and effort, and likewise finding that no good deed goes unpunished.
So, if you are contemplating writing someone to complain about something, first consider whether you really want to add to the work already ahead of the folks who will have to respond to you. Consider whether your complaint is urgent, whether someone will die or truly suffer if your complaint isn't registered. Is there something else, maybe something bigger and more deeply concerning, that's been triggered within you, that you're hoping to make feel less big by complaining about this smaller thing? Are you writing because you are hoping someone else will take responsibility for your anxiety, so you don't have to feel it anymore?
Nothing is perfect or ideal right now. That's just the way of things in this season of the world and our lives. It's not because anyone is doing anything wrong or malicious or because people aren't trying hard enough, or don't understand how it could be made better if they only saw things your way. No one has enough staff, or time, or bandwidth, to do everything that's being demanded of them. Not doctors, not teachers, not restaurants, not church staff or volunteers, no one. The longer we expect things to happen the way they used to, the longer we will live with disappointment.
The sooner we accept the new way of things the sooner we will adapt, shift our expectations, and be ready to live into new ways of being, new patterns of relating, new structures for our work together, to emerge. The old ways are dying, and much must be pruned within and among us before the new can begin to take root and flower.
How can we accept the early Christmas cards of our lives with laughter and knowing appreciation instead of annoyance and eye rolls? How can we extend to others the grace and compassion we need in the world today?