The other day the phone rang.
"Hello?" I answered, bristling at what I suspected was another solicitation, another pointless interruption in my busy day.
"Hi, this Carole from Food for the Poor."
My thoughts: Oh crap, I knew I shouldn't have answered. It IS a solicitation and I just gave money to them so why are they calling me? Why are they bothering me? Leave me alone!
"Oh, hi." My voice was flat and I'm sure my annoyance was audible.
Carole: "I saw you had some prayer requests on your donation form so I'm calling to ask if I could pray with you. Is that okay?"
I paused, wondering if I misunderstood her unexpected reason for calling.
I felt my mindset shift slightly and my tone change. "Yes," I told her, softening even though I still remained suspicious that a donation request was coming in exchange for this moment of prayer. But I went with it anyway.
Carole: "Father God, you tell us where two or more are gathered, you hear and grant our prayers." I closed my eyes and listened as this stranger prayed like an old friend, lifting my requests specifically, one by one, asking how I was doing carrying these burdens and reminding me that I didn't carry them alone. Her words, her prayers, were beautiful and uplifting. I relaxed into her words, giving space for prayer to do what it's designed to do: open our hearts to the Bigger, the Better, the Godly part of ourselves and each other.
This is what Carole does all day long. She calls, not knowing how she will be received, and she lifts up the needs of others in a heartfelt way. Despite my suspicions about a donation request, it never came. This was just pure prayer, no strings attached, the way prayers are meant to be.
At the end, I asked Carole if I could pray for her, too, for the important work she does, for the Holy Spirit to give her the words to touch hearts in the way they need to be touched. And I was changed a little by that experience, too. Giving and receiving the Spirit will do that to you.
When I hung up the phone, I sat for a minute, thinking about Carole and how all of us are called to do what she does in varying forms. Sometimes it's a prayer. Sometimes it's a casserole dropped off for dinner, or a phone call to say, "I'm with you friend." Always, it's reaching out, connecting, coming together because that is what we were made to do even when our busy lives pull us from others.
So be Carole today. Reach out. Interrupt. Insert yourself in the life of another. Her calling is our calling, too.