Why Did I Answer the Phone?

I have to start out by saying that I resent the telephone.  It sits there on my desk, interrupts my train of thought, and brings nothing but trouble.  It requires me to engage with real, live people, which makes me uncomfortable.  I much prefer to deal with email, because it’s more efficient, and because I can do what I am comfortable with — looking intelligent, answering questions, and solving problems.  The phone makes me face my shyness with people, my insecurity, and my fear of emotional involvement.

So, why did I answer the phone the other afternoon?

I was rushing — as usual — between one meeting and another, from one task that I considered very important to another I thought was just as important.  That’s me, Mr. Too Busy and Important to Answer the Phone.  When it started to ring, and I didn’t recognize the number, I knew that answering it would make me late, and would throw me off my train of thought.  It was a most inconvenient time for a phone conversation of indeterminate subject and length.

So, why did I answer the phone?

When I picked up the receiver, the young lady started out with a very relieved sound in her voice.  She explained that she had happened upon one of my earlier blog posts, in which I mentioned how we need to do more to help pregnant women in crisis, for example by providing more day care.

She then went on to tell me that she was in exactly that position.  She was pregnant, alone, and was having a hard time figuring out how she was going to take care of her child and return to work.  She wasn’t sure if I could help her, because she didn’t live in the Archdiocese, but instead was in upstate New York.   But she was scared, and a little bit at the end of her rope.  She was asking me for help — real, concrete help, in the here and now.

So, why did I answer the phone?

I talked to her for a while, telling her how there was definitely help out there for her.  I then gave her the best advice I could think of.

I suggested that she call the Sisters of Life.  Their Visitation Mission specializes in helping women and men deal with the difficulties of a pregnancy, and they have innumerable connections all around the nation.   I have heard stories about their work that have moved me to tears.  So that was the first smart thing I did.  I told her about the Sisters.

The second thing I did was to tell her that she should get in touch with her local diocese’s Catholic Charities.  Here in the Archdiocese, our Catholic Charities helps hundreds of pregnant women every year.  I know this, because their Maternity Services office is on the same floor as mine, and I’m constantly seeing moms, dads and babies.  They also work miracles.

I then told her how great it was that she was doing the right thing, and that she would be able to do this with a little help.  I told her “God bless”, we said goodbye, and I offered a small prayer for her.  Afterwards, I realized that I never even asked her name.  But I believe she’ll be alright.

So, why did I answer the phone?

I don’t know.  But I think that the Holy Spirit, who moved my heart and will, and my guardian angel, who was whispering in my ear, know the answer to that one.  And maybe, someday, I’ll meet a young lady and a baby, and I’ll know the answer too.

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5 Responses to “Why Did I Answer the Phone?”

  1. Peggy says:

    Wow. That was a wow.

    No wonder I love you so much.

  2. Ed Mechmann says:

    Isn’t it nice that my wife reads my blog!

  3. Ralph Mitchell says:

    I want to blog about your Sept.24th Varia Item on the Increase in Cohabitation. My complaint and suggestion is aimed at our ArchNY Catholic Clergy. In our relativistic society where our young people do not know the difference between Right and Wrong, our clergy should be constantly talking about the evil of cohabitation or as we call it like it is, \Living in Sin\. When is the last time you heard a homily which focused on counseling our young Catholics, parents and grand parents about the sinful nature of cohabitation? Please urge our ArchNY clergy to intensify the teaching against cohabitation or fornication.

  4. John G says:


    I agree it is well past the time that we explain to our young people [ and many older] the need for the Sacrament of Marriage, I have tried to explain to both my sons how special “”the first time” their Mom and I were together sexually, was the night we were married, which made the experience so very special. The young people who refuse to wait until marriage are denning themselves the greatest experience. Unfortunately, most clergy seem to be afraid of confronting young people, so almost everything they do is acceptable. “When you give an inch, they take a mile.”

    Has the attendance at Sunday Mass greatly increased with “ALL” the needed changes?
    And yet MORE changes are to come?? When will our Bishops realize most people want the stability of what the CHURCH was not the constant CHANGE we’re so sick of! ENOUGH!!!

  5. Ralph Mitchell says:

    Could you comment on my Sept.25, 2010 posting about Cohabitation and our Catholic Clergy’s wholesale neglect to instruct the young faithful on this evil epidemic?