Something truly odd happened yesterday. I was working when my phone rang, so I let it go to voicemail. Hours later, I checked it and the id gismo said it was my neighbor. She didn’t leave a voicemail. I called and she told me she had received a call that her elder sister, her last living sibling, was not expected to last through the day. She had called to see if I would go with her to visit because she is directionally challenged and gets lost easily. I asked for details and it was a sad tale of them not being close and that the sister who was in her late eighties had developed dementia with complications. She had last visited about three months ago and her sister had just yelled at her, so she had figured she wasn’t helping her and withdrew, but now, she was not expected to live. She had indeed tried to visit, but got totally turned around. “I’m wondering whether God even wants me to see her because I just couldn’t find it, HuntMode. I kept asking for help, but just couldn’t get there.” While my neighbor is 77, she had googled the directions, but still got turned around. “It’s been happening since I was eight years old. I’ll tell you, Huntie, I go to a theater and if you’re supposed to go right when you walk out, I go left….”
I asked for the address and said I’d look it up on Google maps and call her back. In truth, every bit of my being was yelling “No! Don’t do it!” and I was stalling for time to figure it out. It was easy to see how she might have missed it because there were fast left and right turns and it would be easy to overshoot it… Nonetheless, my gut was clenched just thinking about driving her to visit. There’s a saying, “Stress is when your gut says no, and your mouth says yes.” It is not in my nature to turn down a request for help, especially in these circumstances. Bothered me so much, I called my sister, saying “I want you to talk me out of something.”
“Okay.” My sister said cautiously.
I told her and she promptly said, “Well, you’ve got to honor your gut, Huntie. Don’t do it.”
“Okay, but how do I tell her?”
“Oh, I have no idea,” My sister said helpfully. “Frankly, I just ducked the call when I thought I might get asked to do that…”
Splendid. I took a deep breath, said a prayer, and called my neighbor back. I started out soft, “Well, I can easily see how you got turned around –”
“It is difficult, isn’t it, HuntMode?”
“Yes, yes it is. However, I have to tell you —”
“Oh,” Heavy disappointment in her voice, “you don’t want to do it, do you?”
Big breath. “I don’t know how to tell you this, Ruth, but my gut is just screaming “No!” and I don’t know why. I just —”
Ruth interrupted, “Oh! Well you cannot ignore your gut, ever, Huntie! Thank God, you told me…”
“Really?” My eyebrows had reached the top of my forehead.
“Oh, yes. See, I think God gave you the answer, HuntMode. I prayed and prayed, but I wasn’t getting anything and I think you just answered it…” And she started to cry.
We talked for about 30 minutes or so, until I was sure she was okay. My gut had eased immediately with her response. I even said I’d been afraid to tell her the truth. “Oh, no, Huntie, always tell me the truth.”
Well how about that?