Saturday, June 23, 2007

God's plans

"Man proposes and God disposes." - this proverb is said for a reason. We make some plans and things turn out quite differently. Many time, this proverb is used when things do not go well the way planned. I had not heard or come across a situation when I feared for the worst but the thing turned out be for far better than I could have dreamt for.

So, here is the deal regarding when the man had proposed the worst and God disposed the best.

I ordered some special car cleaning solvent from a retailer. Looking back, I can say it was an impulsive buy. So, when the reality sink in especially after finding a comparable solvent in a local auto store, bitter feeling started to follow. Here I had ordered something for 60 bucks from the net when I can get by with a 15 bucks stuff.

So, what is next? Cancel the order? That's what I did. Only to realize that this retailer had tonnes of fees for cancellation and restocking. After everything, I would have gotten at most $30 as refund on a 60 bucks order. Bad deal, eh?

So, I first contacted the retailer with a request to cancel the order. I felt little better that the order was not in stock anyway and I did not feel too guilty to cancel it as I did not want to wait for more than a week to receive the stuff. So, cancellation was easy. Since the stuff I had ordered was not in stock, I requested that they waive $10 cancellation fee. I was hoping to reduce as much liability as possible on the cancellation and return. I did not hear anything for a day or two and then heard from one of their sales reps that they would cancel the order, waive $10 fee.

I thought it was all a done deal. Order not shipped. So, I did not have to pay neither restocking fee nor return shipping. Since they are waiving off cancellation fee, I was good as gold. No loss.

Then I receive an e-mail that the order has been processed and on its way. I thought 'oh, sh*t!', these guys screwed up. Followed up with a e-mail. This time the rep told that the warehouse somehow failed to see the cancellation and shipped the order. But, she said she was going to work with the shipper and have the package routed back so that I do not have to send it back.

2-3 days go by and guess what - the order gets delivered. So, they did not manage to intercept. I say - 'man, this sucks'. One more e-mail and what I hear is good at the beginning and unbelievable at the end. First e-mail says they will process RMA (Return Material Authorization) and send it so that I can easily ship back the item. I say good lord, this is good. After a while another e-mail follows and in that they say - 'we apologize for all the inconvenience. We have decided to refund you and also let you keep the merchandise you have already received.' Wow! ' This end result is so different than what I had initially thought. I was bitter at the prospect of losing 30 bucks and a long wait to get the remaining 30 refund and here I am with a 60 bucks profit. OK, I still need to get the refund for 60 and I do not expect that to take anything other than it's sweet time. That's ok.

The lesson is that - as God creatively foils our well thought out plans, he also fixes our doomsday scenarios with his strange acts. So, leave it to God and be happy. Whatever is good, that happens. Whatever is bad, that is prevented. If you are not quick to learn this wisdom, you will simply waste yourself worrying till you get sick and die.

However, I also learnt a lesson that this time I consciously reinforced. That is to remain calm during the times of uncertainty. OK, this was a small thing and I did not care much about how things would turn out to be. Although I had my preference, I would not have really minded even if I had to spend a lot of time to deal with the retailer or be satisfied with only nominal refund.

I wonder how nice it would be to be able to have similar attitude during other situations when uncertainty is much higher and stakes are also much higher. Situation-wise nothing is much different. But, we worry and worry so much forgetting that we only propose that too without knowing what is good for us and what is not when the God has a plan with everything taken care of. That's why I think they say - 'belief in God is the beginning of wisdom.'


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