Theology in the Trenches

The caller
Kathleen Kjolhaug
Friday, September 27, 2019
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The phone on the kitchen wall vibrated throughout the house. It startled me, reminding me of the reaction one of ours had the last time they were home. They literally jumped when it rang as they mentioned something like, “Oh, that’s right. You still have one of those!”

As I walked over to pick up “one of those” that was ringing upon my wall, I greeted the caller with a friendly “Hello.”

The voice on the other end was responded in kind but soon I could sense the vocal intonations were that of a solicitor.

“It’s nice to hear a friendly voice for a change,” he said.

Although my voice may have sounded friendly enough, my response was to the point.

“I suppose I might sound that way but what I’m actually wondering is what it is that you want me to support and how much it will cost to do so.”

He began stating his case, and ended with, “So, can we count on you for support by mailing you an envelope?”

“Sure,” I confirmed. “If you send it to me, I will commit to ten dollars.”

Thinking that I’d made his day, I was surprised by his response.

“Sorry, maam, but the minimal amount of support we are asking for is twenty-five dollars. Can you help us out today?”

On this bright and sunny day I didn’t want to be the one to take away teddy bears from school children if their budget had a shortfall. And, I certainly desired to show support to each and every person trying to keep our communities safe. But the truth is, I didn’t have the amount he was asking for in my budget. To be perfectly honest, he rattled off some large monetary amounts I had to choose from as part of the giving club. Soon, I was feeling as though he was the giver and I was the receiver as he offered the selection from which I could choose.

While speaking clearly into the receiver, I simply reiterated what I would be able to give. Quickly, he signed off and in no time I heard an unfriendly CLICK!

I was flabbergasted … taken aback, and thrilled all at once. I was taken aback because he signed off so quickly, thrilled because I was ten bucks richer, and flabbergasted at the audacity that someone would not think that ten dollars was not worth their time.

It was, perhaps, the friendliest non-exchange of money there ever was.

It puts a whole new twist on Matthew 22:14. “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

On a more serious note, Isaiah 43:1 assures that He not only knows my name when He calls, but that I am His. “I have called you by name; you are mine.” For this I am forever grateful. Amen.

( Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)