"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Textual Criticism

My new bell number is __________

That's how it started, about a week ago. I laughed at whoever had texted me and flipped my phone closed. Then it buzzed again.
This time there was a name, followed by the number. I knew one person who had the first name given, but the second name was uncapitalized, unfamiliar, and, by the wording of the message could have been a dramatic typo of a part of the sentence, not a name after all. I wondered if I should call the number, but why bother? The first time one of us wanted to get in touch with each other, we would find out whether my mystery texter had the correct number or not.
That all changed a few days later.
My phone buzzed early in the morning. I was downstairs at the computer waking up.
My mom's in the emergency room. Pray for us.

The urgency and frustration caught me a hefty blow in the stomach region, as I realized that if this was someone I knew, I wanted to know who it was right away. I should have called then, but if whoever it was didn't have time to call, they certainly didn't want me calling them while their mom was in the ER (especially if we didn't even know each other).
So I prayed for whoever it was' mom, and sent the following, rather obscure message on facebook to the friend whom I thought might be the culprit.
Hey bro, how are you and your family? I'm keeping you in my prayers.

I felt this message would convey situation-appropriate sentiments and actions for either a normal situation, or one of my friend's mother being in serious medical trouble. I spent the rest of that day waiting for a response. Not only did I receive none, but my acute Facebook stalking skills told me that my friend had no activity at all that day. I decided to call the number back soon thereafter, which turned out to be this evening, a good 36 hours after the startling text.
The initial exchange was the type you expect from two people, both at least partially expecting someone else, one of whom is in the middle of something else and not expecting to be called upon to understand convolutions of any variety.
We finally sorted out that this person was indeed the name mentioned in the text, and had no idea who I was. It was time to go...
"Sorry to ask this, but," said I, with grace typical of myself on the telephone, "how's your mom?"
I was gratified to hear she is much improved.
"Well, that's great. And I was praying for her."
Turns out my new acquaintance thought my number was one of his pastor's.
(This just goes to show you that you really never know who is praying for you.)
"Well, if I ever call you by accident again, I'll know who you are!" said my new friend, and we said goodbye.


  1. That's pretty cool, Joben. I had someone I didn't know call me yesterday, but it wasn't important like this... and he sounded British.
    Well, now I have to go take those quizzes from your last blog entry!

  2. I posted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Jolly good post, by the way!


A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.