I didn’t want to answer the phone and most of the time I wouldn’t have. The call came through on the house line and had I responded the way I normally would have it would have gone straight to voicemail. Those who I wish to speak with are given my cellphone- the direct line that I carry upon me most of the time.
The other line is still active for emergency purposes. It is proven technology and in the case of an earthquake or some other disaster it is there for us to use. But ten years or so ago when we first got that number it was the primary line so some friends and family still use it.
When it rang twenty-five minutes ago I glanced at the Caller ID and noticed that it said Incomplete Data. Usually that would have been enough to ignore but this time I chose to answer it. Chose to answer it because I needed a two minute break from work and because I was curious.
I recognized that voice on the other side instantly and wondered why they chose to use the house line. They had come down with the kids to spend Thanksgiving with their family. Ninety seconds later I understood why they chose the house line. Ninety seconds later I learned that my dear friend is in the hospital and about to undergo emergency surgery.
It is the night before Thanksgiving and I am grumpy, irritated and frustrated. I have a long list of reasons why and had I not received that call I would be stationed here at the computer with a bad headache, a stomachache and a chip on my shoulder.
Frustrated because in spite of my best efforts certain things haven’t gone as I wish. Irritated because I have been diligent in attending to them and have gotten stuck because of someone else. I am cleaning up someone elses mess. Their screw up has become my problem.
But that telephone call provided perspective. It provided a reminder that I am lucky. It was a sign, a beacon that I can hear clearly that it could be worse. I don’t always respond to those things. Yes, it is true that life can always be worse but my problems don’t go away because someone else has problems.
I don’t say that without sympathy or compassion for others. It doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in trying to help lend a hand. It just is how I operate. The fact that it could be worse doesn’t typically motivate me to be happier or work harder. Those things come from different places.
But this call changed that and reminded me that sometimes it is important to remember that it could be worse. This time I’ll take an extra moment to be thankful for what I have and remember that I while I may not look like I am still 20 I am in decent shape.
So I am thankful for that and for the health of my family.I am grateful. And here on Erev Thanksgiving, the night before I say thanks again and pray for my friend because it really could be worse.