Authentication

“Situations can change; people can change. Be the first to seek to bring good. Do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it with good.”

Pope Francis

Among the most oppressive of my first world problems is the plethora of passwords I need to remember that comes with living in a digital age. Before you reply with a list of helpful apps or hacks to help me remember, spare yourself the effort. I have learned this is one of the ways God chooses to humble me and I am growing in my acceptance of it. Except for this week when I lost my mind. The low point came at 11:30pm when I strolled into my hotel after a long drive and tried to check in. My wife and I have been loyalty members of this particular chain for almost 20 years and we have achieved one of the highest levels of status. My wife had originally set up our account and so she is listed as the primary account holder. As I approached the front desk and handed my license and my hotel-affiliated credit card to the associate, I was greeted with, "You’re not Patricia." I looked up curiously and replied that I was her husband. "How do I know that?" replied the associate. I pointed to the address on my license that matched the one on the account, the credit card I had with me that was the same on file, Tricia’s phone number that I could recite. "I’m sorry sir. I need to speak to Patricia." Even after scrolling through recent family photos on my phone to demonstrate I was who I said I was in order to spare my wife from a midnight wakeup call, I gave an exasperated sigh and said, "OK I will call her and wake her up." My interrogator lifted his hand and said, "I’m sorry sir, we have to call her so that we know we are speaking to the actual account holder."

Following a very long and unsatisfying phone call with customer service on my drive home the next day, I couldn’t get over how bothered I was. Beyond not feeling any sense of reward for being a 20-year reward member, there was something deeper. I wasn’t trusted. Despite having the information necessary, more than "multi-factor authentication" in my mind, the bottom line was the person across the table wouldn’t accept what I had to say, simply because of who was saying it. My fatigue and frustration was certainly blowing my hotel incident out of proportion, but it caused me to wonder if in my life and leadership I ever make someone feel the same way the hotel made me feel. Despite my "loyalty" relationship with colleagues, partners, family or friends, do I communicate belief and trust in what they say or is my resting posture one of skepticism? Do I make people prove it or do I prove my trust in them? How does my faith (or lack thereof) in others intersect with my faith (or lack thereof) in the Lord and what He asks of us? As I finished my drive, there were more than a few individuals I listed mentally who deserved more trust than I was giving. As we continue in this Easter season, let’s demonstrate our identity as believers in the Lord by being people who also believe in each other.

by Daniel Cellucci

May 02, 2022

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