Things Considered

I need to take more than this moment on my blog to acknowledge the very personal and direct involvement the Lord has in my life. In the grand scheme of things, every span of time, regardless of duration, is but a small moment, but I certainly would be remiss if I did not set aside even a few minutes to be grateful.

Some really important experiences have met me on my path; they have taught me about decisions I need to make that affect the rest of my life – how to make them, with whom to discuss them, how to see them through. The transitions haven’t been easy, but huge and swooping. Abrupt. I haven’t been working for six months, and my emotional pendulum has swung the entire range. I took the opportunity to ask myself what I really want and how I could accomplish the goals I needed to set.

It took a while to make decisions upon which I could act. I decided I would return to school. I decide I would return to Florida to save money. That means I would have to pack my things. Apply for readmission. Store my things. Write scholarship essays. Sell some of my things. Arrange for a place to live in Florida and Provo. Register for classes. Apply for student aid. Move to Florida. Look for a job in Florida and Provo.

Then came time to consider situations that would be completely out of my control. I generally try not to stress about them, because doing so is completely pointless, but when I’ve worked so hard to address so carefully what I could  control and when other circumstances throw a wrench into that system, stress becomes inevitable.

I instructed a roommate to deposit a check I received for a Craiglist sale into my account. I was leaving New York City when the sale actually occurred. My roommate deposited the check on Friday, October 22, and everything seemed to be in order.

This past week I’ve been trying to plan trips to and from Utah to work out a few registration kinks and apply personally to jobs on campus. Wednesday morning I tried to check my Citibank account online and I couldn’t log in. I called customer service and they notified me that they put a block on my account and that I would have to visit a branch to have the block removed.

I looked for a branch in Jacksonville. I called a few numbers, the last one transferring me to an employees’ facility, where a nice woman named Christine tried to get a hold of the New York branch where I opened the account over six years ago. She kept getting a busy signal. She took my name and number, and she called me back that afternoon telling me my account would probably end up being closed. Christine gave me a number I could call for updates on a pending investigation on the account.

College money was coming out of that account. Bills were coming out of that account. I was freaking out a little.

A friend was gchatting with me at the time and I told her about my situation. I said that I was going to try finding my bishop’s number so that I could talk to him. My computer wasn’t cooperating with the Church’s website, so I asked my friend to look up the information, but that kind of information wasn’t available, so she contacted her dad who’s a member of his stake presidency.

Later that afternoon, I called the number Christine gave me and ended up speaking to Will in Tampa. I asked for the status on the account, and I recounted to him that the account may end up being closed. I also told him the check that was the reason the account closed was probably from a scam from Craigslist. Will understood that I had no idea the check was bad, that it was deposited in good faith, and the only reason to close the account would be to ensure no more suspicious activity could happen and to keep my money safe.

Will tried to connect me to my NYC branch, but it a busy signal kept sounding. He then sent the assistant branch manager an email with a callback request with my phone number. He said they should call me the next day.

I liked Will in Tampa. He was nice.

During this whole exchange, my friend texted me with the name and home and office phone numbers of my bishop. Just knowing his name and that I could call him settled my heart and eased my mind.

Thursday came and went with no phone call from Citibank.

However, it did come with a successful job interview. So there’s that.

Friday afternoon I called the customer service number, and some guy whose name I don’t recall wasn’t nearly as helpful as my previous phone interactions. He had no new information or any details about the account. He did give me the direct branch number, and he confirmed early Monday morning would be the best time to call.

I hung up that call feeling very frustrated with Citibank. If I hadn’t tried looking at my account online two days before, I wouldn’t have known they blocked my account until I decided to use my debit/credit card. They didn’t try calling me or emailing me. It would have been a complete blindside.

Saturday morning I called the direct number to my branch. Someone named Lauren answered the phone and surprised me. I told her about my situation and she told me the assistant branch manager was investigating the situation and she’d be in the office on Monday and I could call back and speak to her. Lauren gave me her direct number and told me to ask for Sondra.

I thanked Lauren for her help. She was able to tell me they were trying to determine what to do with the account and how to deal with the counterfeit check. She was very reassuring. I told her I was sorry she had to work on a Saturday, and she said it wasn’t all that bad. I confirmed the information she gave me and we ended the call.

Not ten minutes later I came back to my phone to see a new voicemail and a missed call. The message was from Lauren, and she stated that the block was lifted, effective Tuesday morning. I called her back and thanked her. Then I proceeded to run around Jenny’s apartment, jumping up and down, grateful for a happy ending.

This particular hurdle came in the form of a huge inconvenience. We all have them, and not that this situation in any way compares to other burdens other people have to bear, but I could have chosen to deal with my circumstances in several ways:

1. Swear a lot. Well, I did kind of do this, but at least I didn’t swear at people or do bodily harm to them.

2. Write Very Angry Letters to the major corporation involved. I almost did this. I still might. I had seen on a news feed a few weeks ago how Citibank was closing customers’ accounts without telling them, and I made sure to point this out to whoever was speaking to me on the phone this past week.

3. Be Very Angry on the phone. I’ve never really tried this, and whenever my emotions start to bubble over, I become speechless . In my last conversation with Lauren, she understood that I was a victim of fraud. I’m not sure if my sympathizing with her having to work on a Saturday helped at all, and it’s not like I said it to affect the outcome of my situation. I just know it wouldn’t be fun to work on a rainy Saturday morning. For a bank. Citibank, particularly.

So, perhaps the Lord’s direct and personal involvement with this experience is the perspective I have. It would not have been productive to overreact, nor would have yelling at people benefited anyone (though it may have relieved some inner tension). Perhaps it kept me relatively calm, knowing things would work out, when my finances were in jeopardy in New York City while I sit helpless and stranded in Florida.

Perhaps it is also friends who can sympathize and tell me they want to punch someone in the face or know what it’s like not to have any control over some circumstances and remind me of the faith I need to exercise and the trust I should have more of in the better part of humanity.

A large part of it is that I am a daughter of God. How much more personal and direct is the relationship between a child and parent? Those I come into contact with are my brothers and sisters, and I have spent my life trying to develop the kind of heart that opens my eyes. It makes a huge difference in how I treat them and how I understand the way they treat me. That continues to be a goal.

I will always be grateful for that.

The way I see it, out of all the decisions I could make in my life, the ones involving understanding other souls are the most eternally affecting, the ones where people feel like they matter; the ones most important.

A little discussion.

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