The phone rings and I hesitate as caller ID flashes into view. I don’t have to press ‘answer’. I already know the question.
My eyes wander back to the screen where the half-written email waits patiently for the return of my attention.
Reaching for the phone now. “This isn’t a convenient time,” I thought. “Say, no. You have to say no.”
There’s a laundry hamper brimming with activewear – after all, we are busy people. And our fridge is stocked well for a feast, as long as it’s made completely of condiments. I desperately need to go shopping. The dentist appointment tomorrow and the hair appointment the day after that.
The phone has now rung twice.
Oh shoot! I promised to babysit all day Thursday. And when will I find time to write get-well cards? My thoughts like springs, bouncing from cell to cell, gathering reason.
The phone has now rung three times.
The freelance editing job I promised to complete lays on my desk, thesaurus and grammar guide wide open, purple ink pen at the ready. This job I prayed for, and now time escapes as though the Earth has cracked and minutes are slipping through.
The request just inside the ringing phone is not convenient. But I answer.
The voice on the other side is weak and tearful. “I’m having a hard day,” she says. “Would you be able to take me to lunch soon?” I think, but then do not say, what I’m thinking. I already know the right answer.
“Could I take you to lunch tomorrow? I can pick you up right after my dentist appointment.”
Doing the next right thing colors outside the lines of convenience.
Retirement has turned the virtues of a non-scheduled life into a teeter-totter of chaotic commitments. The things that are convenient rarely align with those of highest value.
Instead of clambering to meet a deadline, I took my friend to lunch, and afterward we took a long, quiet drive over miles of country roads, revisiting the area where she once lived, married, and raised her children for over 90 years.
Love isn’t a matter of convenience, it’s a matter of compassion.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8