Don’t you love the way God suddenly pops up with a touch of grace in totally unexpected ways? It’s extra special in dark times like this pandemic. Let me tell you how God surprised me yesterday. Self-quarantined, I didn’t realize until I went out for the mail that the trees already have that lovely pale green of budding leaves. Tiny purple violets and lavender grape hyacinths peeked through the grass. Spring already!
I knew I needed a few new shirts. Mine are so old and faded they’re pathetic. With the stores all closed, I sat down with a catalog and my credit card and dialed the 800 number. The person who answered spoke in heavily accented English I could hardly understand. I knew we were in trouble. I have a strong Southern accent, and sometimes even other Americans don’t quite understand me. Plus my hearing isn’t great any more, and I don’t know that phonic alphabet except Z for Zebra — which would work if I were a Zelda, but not so much for Nancy. The ensuing dialogue sounded like a stand-up comedy act, like that old “Who’s on first?” routine. “I’m sorry...what did you say?...would you repeat it?...can you please talk a little slower?” By the time we painfully worked through source code, customer number, name and address, and credit card info, I was frustrated and exhausted. I knew my voice sounded as snippy and short-tempered.
And of course that’s when God stepped in. I badly needed an attitude adjustment! I felt sudden shame. Had I forgotten, for goodness’ sake, what was happening all over the world — the horrible coronavirus everywhere? This was not a robot on the phone but a fellow human being. No doubt one as frantically concerned for the safety of his family and friends as I was. And working at a job which must be so hard in a language that was not his first. Yet this man had remained patient and courteous the whole time. I felt a warm rush of empathy and friendliness. “How are YOU? Are you washing your hands?” I asked. He laughed and we had a short, friendly conversation. I learned he was in India. We both expressed gratitude that our families were well. Before we hung up I was able to say “God bless you” and he thanked me. It all began with a telephone connection. Thanks to a nudge from God, it ended with a connection heart to heart.
Nancy Dendy Ryle (Georgia, USA)
...devoid of our regular routine and filled instead with uncertainty and a hum of anxiety, my husband and I have found the practice of joining The Upper Room each day at 11am (CST) via Facebook to pray, listen, and learn in community, including my sister in Houston. This is a much-needed healing balm." Join us on Facebook each day at 11AM Central.