My wife, Jill, works at the local YMCA. On the Monday following last week’s entry she got to her work computer and for the first time read my posting about Carl and his practice of calling me after reading “Saturday Stirrings”. For Jill, Carl is “Uncle Carl”, her mother’s brother. Jill’s family grew up spending lots of time with Uncle Carl’s family, holidays and vacations and more. Jill was not able to travel to Uncle Carl’s memorial service, where most of the extended family was gathered, because air travel was against doctor’s orders due to a medical issue. So, as Jill finished reading my posting about Uncle Carl she was feeling sad and a bit guilty about not attending the celebration of her Uncle Carl’s life, even though she knew she could not safely make that trip.
But, on this particular Monday, due to some short staffing at the YMCA, Jill had to forego her usual duties of financial management so she could help out answering the telephone at the Y. Just as she finished reading the Saturday Stirring post about “Carl’s not Calling Today”, with tears streaming down her face and while filled with conflicting emotions of grief and guilt and sadness, the phone was ringing. Being the good and dedicated employee that she is, she answered the telephone: “Thank you for calling the YMCA, how may I help you?”
The voice on the other end says, “This is Carl, I believe you called me.”
Jill sat there is stunned silence, not having a clue what to say next. Was Carl calling today? Who had called someone name Carl on an early Monday morning? She tentatively asked “Carl” some questions, but he didn’t have any name of a person who called. He wasn’t calling to register himself or a child for a program. Perhaps he was calling for details on the Thanksgiving Day Run? “Yes,” Carl said, “perhaps that is what the call was about.” “Well, let me give you the voice mail of the person handling that.” Carl replies, “Thank you. You have been a joy to talk to.” Jill spent the next couple of days trying to track down who “Carl” was. No one remembers calling anyone by that name. The person who handled registration for the run didn’t recall getting a voice mail from “Carl.” And who ends a conversation with a stranger at the Y by saying “You have been a joy to talk to” anyway?
Was this a God-moment, when some God-directed voice was given to Jill as a mystical reassurance? Or was it just “chance”, it just so happened that someone named Carl called at that very moment?
“Which story do you like better?”
“So it is with God.” (The Life of Pi)