Commentary: Reflections upon an accidental dialing

Commentary: Reflections upon an accidental dialing

Technology is great, right? Most of the time.

I am renovating a small barn into a woodworking shop. I need to put Tyvek, the white plastic coat you see when houses are being constructed, onto the structure. The only problem is, as I was working, I could not remember the name “Tyvek" or the term "house wrap." 

So my friend Google and I are sitting at home the other morning at 12:15 a.m., and I say, “Google, what do they call the plastic you put on a house during construction?”

My friend Google replies, “Sure. Calling Barbara Doyle.”

As it sinks into my mind that it is 12:15 a.m. and my phone is in the process of calling Pastor Barbara Doyle, I frantically begin pushing icons and buttons and manage to shut the call down after one ring. I figure I am going to be apologizing to Barbara in the morning, but I’m grateful to have stopped the call in time to prevent embarrassment.

About 12:30 am I receive a call from Pastor Paul Griffith. I answer and he wonders why I am calling him so late? I assure him I did not try to call him, but I misdialed Barbara Doyle. I then learn Paul is living in the parsonage Barbara used to occupy. He has the same phone number she used to have. I explain my mistake and offer my early-morning apologies.

I got to thinking about how great technology is when it works, but when it doesn’t work, things can go way different than what you plan. I also have a random thought: “Wouldn’t it be great if God calls back at 12:30 a.m. when you’ve tried to reach him?”

Then I realized: God does call back. God hears us even when we try frantically to hang up because we are too embarrassed, too upset or too frightened to engage with God in prayer.

God calls back and reminds us the call went through, even if we hang up before we can begin the conversation.

This column originally appeared in the September 2022 edition of "CEU News," published by Holston Conference Wesley Leadership Institute.


Terry Goodman

The Rev. Terry Goodman is [Holston] Conference Secretary and Director of Clergy Concerns. His office is in Alcoa, Tennessee.