Dear I.R.S. Lady

IRS Lady


Things have been pretty heavy around here lately.
And taxes are due NEXT MONDAY!!!
So in honor of filing our 2012 taxes, just wanted to share this one with you…


Dear I.R.S. Lady,

2:59 pm–I am already late to pick up our big kids, but still stop to get the mail.
Bad choice.
I see your large, sealed envelope with Internal Revenue Service–Official Business printed across the top.  I have a hunch it’s not a refund check.

3:01 pm–I tell myself not to worry as I drive in my lateness to the kids’ school.
It wouldn’t-couldn’t be the dreaded audit.
The one where I have to go find all the paperwork that it sitting somewhere in that massive pile-to-file.

3:17 pm–Returning home with car full, I finally open your document.
Sure enough–we’re examining your federal income tax return. 
And then something-stuff about adoption tax credit, substantiate, and wihin 30 days.
And yes–I wrote:
Frustrated mama of sarcasm thinking snotty thoughts about how you all can’t even spell correctly on your own federal papers.
Besides the fact that we already sent you those exact papers you are requesting.

3:21 pm–Still scanning your letter for a phone number to call.
Blood pressure rising as I realize you have sent me duplicates of the same form and are asking for a different enclosed form that is NOT enclosed.
Kids emptying out lunch boxes in the background, while half-full yogurt containers splatter on the newly cleaned kitchen floor.
Oh poor you–dear IRS lady–who will answer this call I’m about to make.

3:37 pm–Phone wedged between ear and shoulder, I have folded two loads of laundry as I wait for a live person.
More discouraging mechanical prompts.
Still waiting.

3:52 pmSomeone will be with me shortly because you are very busy right now.
So am I.

3:54 pm–Apparently I’m next in line but loud voices in the background alert me to a diaper-become-quite-dangerous.
I attempt a one-handed fix and create a two-handed MESS.
Phone slips, and hits the edge–
I hear you saying to me: That is not a valid entry.
I hang up.
And now I’m angry.
Dear IRS Lady–be forewarned of the frustration heading your way.

4:07 pm–Still cleaning up the mess as I dial again.
The screechy piercing sound of a fax machine greets me.
I hang up.
I dial again.

4:08 pm–Back to waiting in line to talk with you.
But you shouldn’t have said–“thank you for your patience”–
Because I’m not–
Clearly not
Just giving you a heads up.

4:27 pm–Still waiting.  Still angry.
I look at the clock and realize that in 90 minutes, more than twenty people will arrive at our house.  Before they show up, I need to feed all the kids, pull the house together, finish cleaning the bathrooms that were sidetracked by a toddler-wielding-scissors-cutting-holes-in-shirts-during-naptime.
Do you think I have time for this?

4:31 pm–I hear the phone crackle and then your voice.
You say with lightening speed: This is _________at __________ IRS ID #___________.
And I miss it all because I’ve waited so long that I am now outside breaking down recycling.
I’m ready to use words with sharp edges.
I want you to feel their point–
I want you to know that if I could fire you, I would.
Because someone should pay for this added-afternoon-stressor.

4:31 and 30 seconds– But then it all changes.
Your words are kind.
Your words are calm.
Your soft answer turns away my wrath.
You explain–
You even acknowledge that I did already send those papers and the error is on your end of things.

4:32 pm–I feel my anger smothered as you ask questions about our adoptions.
I sense your supportive heart.
You are patient in my long-winded explanations.

4:33 pm–Laughing. You make me laugh–such good medicine for anxious shoulders hunched in conflict anticipation.

4:34 pm–Nothing has changed.
But really–so much has.
I still have to send in the-paperwork-already-sent-in-two-months-ago.
But I feel the anger slowly washed away in grace.
I.R.S. Lady–I know God had my line connect with you today.

10:45 pm–The house is quiet and I just want to thank you for your kindness gift.
I’m embarrassed by the word-flood almost unleashed.
I ask God for His forgiveness at my quickly kindled fury.
And I’m thankful for God’s Truth holding True.
“A soft answer turns away wrath.”

7:52 am–So on this next-day-morning….
Just want you to know I’m thankful for the difference one person’s right response can make.
Thank you for your gentle tongue–
That led me back to the tree of life.
I want to remember your response and its power,
The next time I come face-to-face with–

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and healing to the body.” ~Proverbs 16:24

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  1. Love this post! Need this reminder!

  2. I am always amazed and thankful when I get a government worker or utility worker who is helpful on the phone. It so quickly diffuses my irritation at handling this stuff in my busy life.

  3. #loveit:)

  4. Beautiful!

  5. Laura Sowers says:

    This hit home with me. Thank you, Kara. A soft answer softens the heart.

  6. HopeUnbroken says:

    oh, yes. i had a similar situation recently with an insurance representative. and me, all ready with my defense. . . and quite unprepared for the super-sweet voice on the other end. it is so true, your words. and i was both convicted and reminded to change my approach in any number of situations—not the least my daily interactions here at home!
    have a blessed day!

    • Hooray for sweet voices! This has got to be some sort of record, with Kara and you both getting real sweet people from deep within bureaucracies!

  7. you really blessed me with this story. You don’t know how many times i have been in similar situations. God Bless You

  8. Gabrielle Daigle says:

    Love it! I’ve “almost” lost it and regretted it afterwards too. Those sharp words that don’t come out still eat at us inside.

  9. I am so glad you reached that particular woman. What a blessing!
    For anyone who wasn’t sure that miracles exist, here is evidence right here!

    Although I work to be positive and upbeat, I find it is a real struggle when dealing with insurance companies, the IRS, and other government entities. Ugh.

  10. Oh yes, I could feel for you on all of the levels of frustration. I have had many days similar to that one. However, I loved the peacefully ending to it all because someone was soft, kind and caring. How that act of service can heal the frustrated soul. Heavenly Father would be smiling on this one.

  11. a honeycomb. I love that. and it’s so true, isn’t it? it DOES work. if only i could remember this formula when on the other side :). It is tax season, isn’t it?

  12. Nancy Sturm says:

    Oh, the joys of tax time! Aren’t you glad you had a “soft voice” on the other end of the line? I wonder how many times I speak in my anger and regret the type of witness I might make to one who is questioning her belief in the Almighty. Thank you for the reminder to be careful how we speak. And thank you for your sense of humor in a stressful situation.

  13. Jennifer D. says:

    Oh man, I was right there with you and was not expecting that ending. So, so wonderful!! Love your heart, sweet friend!

  14. Great post, Kara! I can imagine how frustrating that must have been, but what an encouragement to see God has your back the whole time. He knows exactly what we need when we need it and He’s never late in giving it to us. Blessings to you!

  15. Love this, Kara! I can so relate. I had an experience like this that I miserably failed in and the person was so gracious to me that the conviction stung deep in my heart. But God used it to bring about such a great lesson in how despite our circumstances we can choose to seek His grace to quell our fleshly passions and rest in His Sovereignty. Life may not be easy or fair, but He is Good and His promises are true. Everything will work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Praying your tax stresses are eased in knowing He handpicked that kind woman to take you call! I love how He never gives us more than we can handle. I just wish I would remember that more often! xoxo


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