I’ve been having a memory lately from over 20 years ago. I was visiting with a family who had just lost a beloved adult daughter long before anyone could believe. It was not unexpected as she had been battling cancer, but still stunning and very sad.
While I sat with them in the living room the phone rang. This was before caller ID or mobile phones or screening! The man who had just seen his daughter die answered the phone. He had an official, city position at the time and the caller was complaining (obviously from overhearing) about something maybe related to sidewalks or street lighting – and it was not a quick call and it was really, really bad timing.
As I sat there, I waited for him to tell the caller, “Look lady, can’t this wait? I just lost my daughter and have a room full of company!” He could have made her feel small… but he didn’t. He just compassionately listened to her, addressed her concerns, and then politely hung up. I was amazed at his restraint. If anyone was entitled to blow his top, he was. But he didn’t. He put it on hold to do his business.
This was in a small town and the lady realized what she had done and called later to apologize for her timing, so all was well.
But, what an example and a man of integrity that I remember and admire to this day!