When God Calls

Discussion in 'Random' started by Debi, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Debi

    Debi
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    I've been asked to repost this by another member here. So...here you go. One of my first published writings years ago:

    This is a true experience that I had many years ago. It deeply impacted my life and was one of those experiences that shaped the way I view the universe. It was initially published in Spirit & Life magazine in 1995. I share it with you now with their permission.


    WHEN GOD CALLS
    Working for a large home health agency in Florida was my first venture back into the work force after seven years of being a stay at home mom. I was delighted to find that part of my new job included daily phone contact with the elderly. The program provided a morning phone call to patients who lived alone, assuring us that all was well and that no one had fallen or become ill overnight. I looked forward to calling these wonderful people each morning.

    Until I phoned Ida Kay.

    Ida had been put on my list of calls that morning by Roy, our social worker. Roy explained that Ida refused the nursing services her doctor had ordered. We knew only that she had cancer and that her doctor was extremely concerned, as she lived alone and apparantly had no family or friends. The woman appeared to be a veritable hermit, having her groceries delivered and was only rarely glimpsed peeking through her doorway by neighbors. With my daily phone calls, at least we would know when she needed help or, hopefully, we could get her to agree to medical atttention. Eager to help, I dialed as Roy stood by.

    "Yes, yes, this is Ida! Who is this?" came a harsh, demanding voice in reply to my friendly hello. Explaining who I was and that I would like her permission to call her daily, I was met with a "Harrummmppphh," and then silence. I was new at the job and unsure what to say next to this unusual woman, when she suddenly asked, "How old are you, girlie?"

    "Well, Miss Kay, I'm 30," I stammered, glad to have the silence broken. "A baby," she muttered, obviously irritated. "OK, girlie, got any children?" Her gruff voice and bluntness grated on my nerves and was throwing me off balance. "Uh, yes, Miss Kay. I have three boys. Do you have any children?" Ignoring my question, she threw another at me. "Do you believe in God, little girl?"

    The lady definitely had a firm opinion on the subject of God, I was sure from her tone. I just wasn't sure what that opinion was! And I was very sure my answer was going to be the key to her acceptance or refusal of my future phone calls. Company policy was avoidance of religion and politics in conversations with our patients, but a small voice within urged me to an honest reply. Although I am Wiccan, my tradition does believe in God.

    (cont. next post)
     
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  2. Debi

    Debi
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    "Yes, Ms. Kay, I do very much believe in God." Another silence gripped the line, then her rough voice filled my heart...first with relief, then with confusion. "You will call me Ida, girlie. You will call me promptly at 10 a.m. on the weekdays. You will not lecture me about doctors. You will open your ears and listen. God says you're the last one before I can rest, so be prompt!" The line went dead with a bang. Roy smiled, pleased that she had accepted the calls, telling me that she might be a little senile, but he knew I could handle her. I, on the other hand, felt Ida had handled ME quite well!

    At the appointed time the next morning, I took a deep breath and dialed Ida. "Good!" she rumbled. "At least you're prompt. I will give you five minutes. Now let's see if you listen." Ida began by stating her "facts." She was eighty-two, no children, and she was dying of cancer. She didn't want or need a doctor and there would be no discussion of medical intervention. Period. We could talk about her coming death or my life. Those were the only permissible subjects. My five minutes were up for the day and the phone again went "Bang!"

    Each day at ten for the next six weeks, her demanding tone irritated me. She also had the unnerving talent of drawing out details of my life that I would have preferred left private. She eventually uncovered the fact that my grandmother was dying of cancer four states away. I found myself confessing that I was feeling very guilty for being unable to be with her and was also avoiding calling her for fear of it being the last time we might talk. "Well, it's about time she got to it, Lord," she grumbled, obviously not to me. "All right, girlie. Shut up and listen. I've got a message for you. I'm running out of time and so's your grandma. This belief you claim to have in God seems a little weak to me. If you believe as you say, then you know death is just a crossing over to a new life. When God calls someone home, it is appropriate for others to say goodbye. Saying goodbye is important to someone going on a trip. Gives a person the chance to give last minute advice and say things that need be said. Are you listening, girlie?"

    On the verge of tears, I could only whisper, "Ida, I'm listening. I've heard everything you've said." I could hear Ida's sigh of resignation. She sounded tired and worn. When she next spoke, her voice was soft and caring, something I hadn't thought possible with this seemingly steel-hearted woman. "Not what I'VE told you, child," she said quietly. "What God is trying to tell you." She paused for a moment, then called me by name for the first time. "Debi, 'goodbye' means God be with you. Will you be able to say goodbye to me?" Without another word, she quietly hung up the phone. In those last words, I had heard something. It was my grandmother's voice, not Ida's, I had heard. It was God's message.

    I called Grandma that night. We shared our love, memories, and tears. We said what needed to be said and she gave me advice. At the end of the conversation, instead of the usual "talk to you later," we said goodbye. Reluctant to hang up the phone, I choked out, "God be with you." She said He was.

    The next day I called Ida and launched into a dialogue of what I had done. When I stopped talking long enough to let Ida have a word, I heard the pain in her voice. "I'm glad you got the message, girlie. Looks like He timed this one out pretty well." I felt the immediate alarm at the ragged sound of her voice. "It's time for us to say goodbye, child. I'm glad you learned to shut up and listen. You just remember He can use anyone for His purpose...even a senile old lady like me!" she wheezed. I was frantically shoving Ida's address card at the charge nurse and mouthing "call 911" while tears began to form in my eyes and slide down my cheeks. I switched the phone to speaker. "Ida, I have the ambulance on the way. Honey you need to unlock your door so they can get to you. Can you do that?"

    Her breathing was shallow and very rapid. All I could think of was this old lady dying alone. "Girlie, she wheezed, "I did that two hours ago. I've just been waiting for you to call to tell me goodbye."

    (cont. next post)
     
  3. Debi

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    The whole office was now quiet, listening to what they knew was an emergency phone conversation with a dying patient. There was protocol to follow in a situations such as this, yet no one even blinked when I breached the rules. Tears were flowing freely down my face as one of the other nurses came to hold my hand. Taking a deep breath, and with true love and affection, I bid my farewell.

    "Ida, thank you. You have truly been God's messenger. You have not only taught me to listen, but to say things that need to be said. I promise to keep listening, Ida, especially to senile old ladies!" I heard a rough laugh and a deep, tearing cough. I heard the knock at the door and the paramedics rushing in. "Goodbye, Ida, " I said softly. "God be with you." Just before the phone hit the floor, I heard her whisper, "He is, girlie. He is."

    Someone hung up the phone. I cried for the next hour in a most unprofessional manner.

    The next day I was amazed to see a large obituary in the paper for Ida. She had been a ham radio operator, highly respected and well known for her "messages" to hundreds of people around the world. Ida had never been alone or lonely. I learned she had worked through the night before her death to say goodbye to everyone who knew and loved her.

    It has been several years now, but I've never forgotten to shut up and listen. I've heard God's "messages" on the radio and the phone; from children, plants in the spring, bank tellers, and grocery clerks. I still work with the elderly and I've kept my promise to listen to "senile old ladies," who continue to give me His word and direction. I continue to say goodbye to those leaving this life.

    Sometimes God sends an angel with a trumpet to get our attention. Sometimes He uses the phone.
     
  4. Paulm

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    Thank you for reposting that Debi. That's a beautiful article with a beautiful message. Very well done.
     
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  5. Fizz

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    That’s really a beautiful story. Got me choked up a bit. <3
     
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  6. garnetsilver

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    I am so moved! Thanks for such a beautiful story, Debi. I also need to learn to shut up and listen!
     
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  7. TexDanm

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    Grrrrrrrrrrr! It made my keyboard sweat and get wet.
     
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