I was in the middle of writing when the house phone rang. That usually means someone asking for a few minutes of my time for opinions on politics or sports medicine resources in our community.
This time, it was different. It was asking for an opinion on yesterday’s post about compassion.
“Hi Jon,” the caller said. “Can I ask you a favor?”
I recognized the voice quickly. He’s a friend, though in my previous role as a pastor, he also was a “client.” As he described the favor, I was running through the list of other people who he could call. I was thinking through my list of projects for the day. I was thinking through our shared back-story.
“Today,” was his request. A couple hours of my time and my vehicle. I suggested “tomorrow” which would be less satisfactory for him but more convenient for me.
“Can I call you back in a couple minutes?” I said, aware of the grammatical difference between ‘may’ and ‘can’ and not really caring.
I sat back down at my desk, with the project list in front of me, and I started laughing. Because I thought of you. You were reading my words about thinking compassionately, a nice abstract post. And as you were reading, I was being offered an opportunity to decide whether I really believed what I wrote. And I was seconds away from deciding that I “strongly disagreed” with the practical application of looking with compassion on my friend.
I called him back: “I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
I rewrote my project list. I combined errands. I used the driving time to think. I got to see his apartment. I got a few more pictures from his past.
And I discovered, again, that small opportunities for obedience can slip past almost unnoticed. Thank you for helping me notice this one.
Have a compassionate weekend.