Tuesday, August 30, 2016

PHONE A PHRIEND

My wife got a very weird call on her cell phone last week.  For starters, the call came at an ungodly 5:45 a.m.  Secondly, the caller was one of my poker buddies.  And lastly, the call went straight to voicemail (Karen turns off her ringer at night) but he left no message.  None.

Who does that?  Who places a phone call before 6 in the morning and DOESN’T leave a message when it goes unanswered?  If the call is important enough to risk waking someone up for, then it’s important enough to leave a message.  Right?

And why did he call KAREN?  Why didn’t he call ME?  After all, he’s supposedly MY friend.  So, unless he’s planning a surprise party to congratulate me for being a vastly superior card player to him, this pre-dawn inter-spouse cell phone call was an egregious violation of “Guy Code”. 

When confronted with these questions, my friend said that he didn’t actually call Karen.  He said that for the last couple of days, his so-called “smart” phone had been making unauthorized phone calls to 5 random folks on his contact list whenever his morning alarm went off.  To make matters worse, the phone would subsequently hang up as soon as the connection was made.   

The way he described it to me, his phone was “cursed and possessed by the devil, and needed to be exorcized”.  I told him that I didn’t do exorcisms - but even if I did, I didn’t think that there was anything demonic about this.

In fact, I thought it was rather divine.

I mean, do you think it would be a blessing or a curse if you started each day by randomly calling 5 people on your contact list – FOR NO REASON AT ALL?  Just because.  No hidden agenda.  No ulterior motive.  No purpose, other than to simply connect with them.  Person to person.  

Do you think the folks on the receiving end of such a call from you would consider that a blessing, or would they curse you? 

Consider the preparation that you'd likely make prior to each one of those calls. Granted, you’re calling “just to say hi”, but you’d probably spend a moment or two beforehand thinking about them and what might be going on in their life.

Is their dog still sick?  Has their only child just left the nest for college?  How’s their favorite football team looking for the upcoming season?  Is their boss still a jerk? 

You know, I used to do something similar to this back when I was the pastor of a local church.  Each Monday morning, I’d put the names of 5 persons/families on my desk blotter.  I made it my goal that, by the end of the week, I would call each and every one of those folks “just to say hi”. 

As you can imagine, the responses I received to these random phone calls varied wildly.  Sometimes, the recipient would spend the entire conversation wondering why I really called, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

But much more often, the folks would say something like “It’s funny that you called, Pastor…”,  and then share with me an important issue that they had been hesitant to talk to me about because either I seemed too busy or they were too afraid/embarrassed. 

Alas, I’ve gotten away from this practice since becoming a DS, reasoning that the context for my ministry is so different now.  But honestly, ministry is ministry, and people are people. 

So I’m gonna stop typing now, and start calling.  TTYS!




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