Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New Beginnings - Part 8 Red Tape

Spain. Land of sunshine, friendly people and... bureaucracy!

I like the reality of administration. It is necessary. It keeps people organized and if someone is trying to get away with something, it helps to keep them accountable... and society safer.

But those in Administration really need to have their thinking caps checked to ensure they are able to cope with their responsibilities, without extremes of megalomania or the propensity to get stuck in a box.

Spain is 'known' for its bureaucracy. I admire their system that so effectively manages to ensure its inhabitants are officially accounted for, so that benefits are available to those deserving, and taxes are paid by those who are required.

But sometimes, be it in Canada, Britain, Spain or worldwide, some Administrators seem to lack common sense.

As I write, my property is in a holding pattern, because a particular Customs official can't seem to grasp the fact that I've moved from Canada, where I lived for the past 4+ years. Perhaps leaving the wide plains of North America, 'land of the free', is unfathomable for him (or her). Or perhaps 15 documents that prove I lived there aren't enough. (Apparently there is a transfer document for residents who depart Spain - but Canada doesn't provide that, and neither do many/most other countries.) Or maybe he or she is seeking a promotion and so thinks that blocking my shipment and charging a duty will earn brownie points.

I remember once years ago (in Canada), when I had changed my name and sought to get a government social insurance card changed, the administrator had difficulty restraining herself from charging me. The rules stipulated that there was no charge for a legal name change. I'd changed my first name, legally; however, the woman at the desk couldn't reconcile her concept of a name change - so narrow as to include only a sir name through marriage - when I'd changed my Christian name by choice. She just couldn't widen her scope beyond her assumptions. Eventually, I invited her to call her superior, who was a more flexible thinker, and I had my card revised to incorporate my new name, free of charge.

We all experience red tape from time to time. It can be annoying and inconvenient. It's important not to let our frustrations out on the person behind the desk who is, after all, only trying to do his job.

Yet, when the individual is incompetent, we'd like to draw the line, wouldn't we? How do we cope when we don't experience 'fair play'?

The key is grace.

We all make mistakes. Patience, kindness, giving the benefit of the doubt is what we want when we make a mistake. Likewise, it's what we need to offer when we know we're right but have to wait for the other person to 'see the light', even when it is at our expense and inconvenience.

I'm telling myself this because it's getting more and more difficult for me to live this out at the present time.

Is my shipment going to be released tomorrow? Or will I be denied my goods again and be asked to offer further documents, charged for delays I didn't cause, and shuffle my schedule yet again? I don't know. But I do know shouting down a phone won't get me any closer to getting what I want.

I do ask myself "Why?" Why am I being forced the expense and inconvenience of waiting? Why is my documentation not being taken at face value when others before me have had theirs accepted? Why don't Customs officials have a better grasp of international bureaucracy so they don't ask of someone from another nation documentation that doesn't exist?

To be honest, I don't think the "Why" has as much to do with the Customs agent as it has to do with me. I think this experience is the opportunity for me to stretch my grace muscles. I'm getting a workout, that's for sure. Let's see how I manage tomorrow.

Until next week... and I'll let you know how things have panned out at the Customs office here in Spain.

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:

END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.

My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
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