I was right-smack in the middle of fixing dinner. I’d rushed in after a long afternoon of running errands. My daughter demanded something. My husband asked me a question. Feeling stressed to the max, the phone rang. Seriously? Who would think to call me now? At this moment? Didn’t they know this was the hour of chaos for all moms across the country?
I didn’t recognize the number and was tempted to just let it ring.
What if it’s a business call for my husband? What if it’s something urgent? I picked up the phone. But when I heard the perky, unfamiliar voice on the other end immediately go into a spiel for a security system on sale, I knew I’d made a mistake!
Another telemarketer. Another interruption. Something else to get on my nerves! I certainly didn’t have time for this. I cut her off quickly with a not-so-friendly tone of voice. She could probably feel the steam rising from my words boiling over.
“I’m NOT interested and I’m BUSY!” Click.
I abruptly hung up–letting out a groan for being interrupted. My time was valuable and I didn’t like to give it up. Returning to the mess in my kitchen, I sighed about how much I still needed to do.
But then I heard that familiar, gentle whisper from God. I didn’t want to listen. But I paused in the middle of my messed up kitchen and this is what I heard:
Lisa, that telemarketer has a name. You don’t know it, but I do. She is a real person, just like you. She is stressed out, just like you. She has a family, just like you. She is only doing her job the best she can.
Ouch. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, this was the truth.
This telemarketer (and all the other ones too) was only doing her job. This might be the only job she could get. Maybe she was limited to this inconvenient shift. Or maybe she was a single mom working multiple jobs to make ends meet.
Here I was complaining about my dinner preparations being interrupted and she most likely would be eating dinner alone at her desk. Was this the norm for her? Did she ever get to eat dinner with her family?
As I put the final touches on dinner, I truly felt convicted for my thoughts and attitudes towards her.
Jesus calls us to love our neighbor. Yeah, I get that.
But I’ve always limited it to people I can physically see with my eyes. I’d much rather leave it at that and put telemarketers into a different category. But the more I ponder this command, I believe it also applies to the people I can’t see. To the people on the other end of my phone. (Whether it’s a feisty telemarketer or customer service rep who’s being difficult!)
This is a tough truth I’m having a hard time embracing! My flesh says it’s no big deal. My flesh says I’m taking this love thing way too far.
But my spirit calls me to love those who cross my path. Even if that path is a phone conversation with someone I’ll never see face-to-face. God made each human being in his own image. An eternal soul. And we are simply called to love. Period.
The next time I’m caught off guard with a telemarketer I pray I’ll respond differently. Before speaking harshly or hanging up in a fury, I could pause and pray. I don’t have to purchase something or make a donation, but it does mean I speak with respect. With dignity.
And just maybe, my words will be the only bright spot in their day. They’ll get plenty of ugly words from the rest of the world.
I don’t want to be like the rest of the world! I truly want to be characterized by loving others. Jesus said it was LOVE that would point others to him. It’s LOVE that will stand out above everything else.
Dear friend, I pray you too will let love shine through all your phone conversations. Especially the ones you least expect.
John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Blessings to you!