I had an unscheduled and very quick trip to India this week. It did not involve a plane or any other normal form of transport but came in the form of an unpaid toll notice for the M5 motorway.
The trip to India happened as I made the local call and through the wonder of modern telecommunications was transferred to a call centre somewhere on the subcontinent.
The operator was polite, helpful and was able to process my request effectively. She was also determined to appear as though she was just across the road rather than servicing my mundane request from the other side of the globe. She had an almost acceptable Australian accent; she was familiar with slang terms and idioms; she was aware of my location and she had a slightly uncomfortable amount of information regarding my driving habits. However, with all that information at her fingertips, with all the training and practice she had obviously worked through, I still knew that I was talking to someone from a different place – someone whose life was significantly different to mine, whose experience could not line up and whose culture was dissimilar.
I am not complaining, I am not even uncomfortable with being sent to a call centre – I am amazed that they can make it work from so far away. But I do note this one thing, ‘the game’ – trying to make me believe that I am dealing with someone just down the street – doesn’t work…I feel like I am being played and that I have to pretend that I don’t notice. The fact is that I do notice and no matter how nice the person is on the other end of the phone, I find myself reacting to it.
There is a natural desire for honesty built into each one of us; there is desire in each of us that people will deal straight and true. There is also a desire to be understood; that another will truly come alongside and experience life from our point of view. Call centres try to do this but fail.
Some people view the Lord as far away and from a very different planet. I have not found Him like this. Yes, He is different but He understands and communicates more clearly with me than any other I have met. The Bible says “we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses and was in all points tempted as we are”. Now that’s a call centre worth talking to!