Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Seeking Forgiveness

“Walter,” the email read, “Sally Smith did pledge. On 9/25.”

I am the IT person for one of my parish’s volunteer ministries.

The ministry involves offering training in ten life skills ( such as Healthy Relationships, Change, Budgeting, Health & Wellness ) to guests who want to learn these skills to help them make change in their lives. If a guest pledges to graduate, and attends each of the 10 topics ( any order, any length of time ), s/he may graduate. We celebrate these on the night they occur. For many of our guests, this is the first time they’ve made and fulfilled any sort of commitment. Each training event requires six to seven volunteers and we do this almost weekly.

My job includes
  • managing the Schedule Worksheet
    ( We schedule in six-month increments. )
  • maintaining the Attendance Worksheet
    ( This documents who attended when, who pledged, who graduated. )
  • posting the Facilitator’s Summary for each event to our Yahoo group
  • managing our Yahoo group
Mine is a pretty responsible position; I am pretty responsible.

A recent email disturbed me. It began, “I made a mistake … could someone switch with me?” Another email recipient took her spot, solving the problem. I looked into it, though, and the error was mine, not the writer’s. I scheduled her for a week earlier than she had requested. Inadvertently. I fessed up, apologized, she graciously forgave me and life went on.

Two days later I received the current Facilitator’s Summary which contained five or six guest questions about which topics they needed to graduate. I looked up the answers, clicked REPLY TO ALL, and responded. Two of the questioners had not yet pledged; Sally Smith ( not a real name ) was one of them.

The facilitator wrote back very quickly, “Walter, Sally Smith did pledge, on 9/25.”

Uh oh. Why wasn’t that in the Attendance Worksheet?! Thinking it might have been obscurely documented, I looked up the summary for 9/25. I found, “Sally Smith pledged.”

“Well, that couldn’t have been any plainer,” I muttered. Chagrined, I opened that Attendance Worksheet to document Sally’s pledge. And there it was, “9/25” in the pledge column for Sally Smith! Somehow I had missed it. Two errors in the space of a couple of days? “I’m slipping,” I feared.

I thought it might be good to review the other answers I had provided. And I found yet another error. I ( correctly ) said a guest was missing four topics and named them ( getting only 75% of them correct ).

Humbled, I again clicked REPLY TO ALL, acknowledged and corrected both errors, admitted being humbled, asked forgiveness.

I am also trying to forgive myself; I find this is sometimes the hardest forgiveness to obtain.
If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to  walter.comments@inkfounta.in.

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