Last Saturday morning at five o’clock, I woke up, made my coffee, and sat down to write. I do this every day but Saturdays are when I write for the blog. The other six days of the week I’m hacking away at the next book that I’m writing, so Saturdays are fun and are like a recess for the mind.
The topic I chose to write about last week was the power of prayer. My writing has veered into “religious” territory before, but something about last week’s post must have really struck a nerve.
Because as soon I hit publish, stuffed the kids in the car, and headed to Chick-fil-A for our weekly Saturday morning father/son smorgasbord breakfast ritual (and by smorgasbord, I mean I inhale all of my food plus their food after unsuccessfully convincing them to eat) I started getting feedback.
Someone unsubscribed from my blog’s mailing list. “No religious stuff.” was the reason given.
Fair enough. I get it and I totally understand, it’s not for everyone. Not a big deal, I thought. I get unsubscribes maybe once a month, it happens. Good luck in your future endeavors, as they say.
As I walked into the restaurant, my phone buzzed again. Unsubscribe. Another one? I thought.
Fifteen minutes later as I tried to convince my three-year-old to eat just one more hash brown if he wanted to wreak havoc in the playground with his brother, my phone buzzed again. Unsubscribe.
Forty-five minutes later, as we drove home and I questioned my writing ability and existence on this planet, I heard another buzz. I winced and looked at my iPhone. Two more unsubscribes!
And all for the same reason!
I drove in silence and started to wonder if I had been too over the top. That’s when I was reminded of a story I had once read about how the CEO of a major airline handled a complaining customer.
There was a woman who was a frequent flyer of one particular airline and wrote a letter to the company’s CEO about her experience after every single flight when she would return home.
She was completely disappointed with every aspect of the airline. She didn’t like how they boarded the plane and thought it could be done more efficiently than it was. So she wrote a letter. She didn’t like how they didn’t assign seats, she didn’t want to deal with finding one on her own, so she wrote another letter. She didn’t like how there wasn’t a section for first class. She didn’t like not being offered a meal mid-flight and hated peanuts, so she wrote a letter about those things, too. She didn’t like how casual the flight attendant uniforms were, and of course, she wrote a letter.
Each of the letters were responded to personally by the CEO, who dedicated time each week to read them and prided himself on acknowledging anyone who took the time to write to him.
But the lady – who started to be known as the airline’s “pen pal” – wrote one more letter, slamming them with a lengthy list of grievances and explaining once again everything she hated about them.
The airline CEO got the letter and sat for a moment, deciding how to respond.
He had spent so much time already, replying to her letters and explaining why they did things the way they did, trying to make the customer happy while simultaneously knowing he never would.
So he wrote the shortest response he had ever written to a customer. It contained only four words.
“We will miss you,” he wrote, signed his name, and mailed the letter. She never wrote him again.
I won’t always write about “religious stuff.” I’ll still write about my three and six-year-old boys and the shennanigans that they get into and my reaction to them. I’ll write about what I learned about life from the prior week and share any insights that I gained with you. That’s why I do this, after all.
But occasionally, I will write about “religious stuff.” It’s part of who I am. I can’t not write about it.
Sorry (not sorry).
I appreciate you being on my mailing list. The readership and number of subscribers has exploded over the last few months and I’m so thankful for that and for you. And I hope you’ll stick around. I have a blast writing this every week and based on the emails I get, I know you enjoy reading it, too.
But if not, thanks for the time that we did share together. I will miss you.