"You wanted to be left alone," my friend said.
"Yes! Well, I didn't want to be interrupted," I replied.
"You wanted to be left alone," he repeated.
I thought about what he was saying. I knew he was trying to make a point, and I just didn't want to hear it. I didn't respond to him and continued on with our normal conversation.
Later in the day I thought about what he was trying to say to me.
"You wanted to be left alone," I repeated to myself.
Ron's point was clear. About a year ago he lost his wife after a long illness. They never had children, and he has been struggling with the emptiness in his life.
I had been complaining to him about my Sunday. One day out of my life when I just really wanted to do nothing. I didn't want to go anywhere. I didn't want to see anyone. I just wanted to...be left alone, I guess.
My wife and I went upstairs to put the television on and watch some old movies. We never really get to see them because either the phone rings or we fall into a deep sleep just minutes later.
But today I was determined not to be interrupted. "I just won't answer the phone," I declared.
About 10 minutes into my "peace and quiet" the phone rang. "Don't get it!" I said.
Five minutes later it rang again. I knew then that it had to be my son, Keith. He always calls twice. Maybe it's an obsessive-compulsive thing or just determination, but he always calls twice when we are out. The calls show up on our phone just minutes apart. I got up and grabbed the phone this time.
He could sense a bit of frustration in my voice, and I toned it down. I didn't want him to feel like I really didn't want to speak with him.
Afterwards, I crawled back into bed. Our dogs, Ricky and Lucy, often join us for a quick nap. They normally sleep through anything, but today every little sound made them bark. Ricky has a habit of getting down off the bed and then minutes later he will scratch at the bed or moan to let you know he needs you to get him back up again. He did it three times.
Not more than 15 minutes later the phone rang again. "You win!" I shouted. "I give up!" I grabbed the phone and almost yelled "Hello!" I heard the sweet voice of my neighbor from across the street. This was highly unusual for her to call at this time. I thought there might be a problem. "Bob, this is Grace. I just had to call you," she said.
"Yeah, like everyone else today!" I thought to myself.
"I just finished my lunch and I was sitting here looking out my window. Every time I do I say, ‘You know you should call Bob and tell him.’”
"Tell me what?"
"I have been enjoying the beauty of your labor. Your flowers are wonderful, Bob. I sit here and enjoy my lunch just looking at those beautiful flowers you planted. Every time I do I say I should call and tell you. Well, as you and I know, life is all too unpredictable and much too short. So today I did it. Thanks, I love you, Bob!"
I thought back on that Sunday. My son called twice just to tell me about his day and to end the call with "I love you." This November 11th he will celebrate 10 years cancer free. You would think I'd appreciate his call any time of day.
My dogs barked and moaned while I was trying to sleep. Every day of my life they give me unconditional love any time I want it and never get angry when I interrupt their sleep.
My brother called. He made me laugh. It was just last week I was so very worried about him. I thought I was going to lose him. Hearing his voice should be music to my ears.
My neighbor, who depends on me to watch over her, called to tell me she loved me and to thank me for the beautiful flowers she sees each day. Her warm smile and welcome hugs fill the gap in my own life. She reminds me of my mother who died from cancer when I was 21 years old.
Seven interruptions in my day.
Seven blessings. I thank God that I don't have an uninterrupted life.
I'll think I'll give my friend a call. I know he doesn't want to be left alone.