All I Did was Listen
Sometimes people need to talk. Even if they are wrong numbers.
She called looking for Pete Peterson. I knew there was no Pete at our house, but I felt God prompting me to just listen, so I did.
Also, I remember my husband telling me that the guys in the army used to call him Pete.
The elderly woman continued to tell me why she was looking for Pete.
“We used to be friends and my husband knew him for years. I’m having a surprise birthday party for my husband and it would mean the world if I could have Pete there.”
“Have you tried to do a search?” I asked.
“No, I’m not very good with technical things. My daughter usually does that kind of thing for me, and she tried a little with no luck.”
I didn’t feel like I was supposed to hang up so I asked her a few more questions. Like where he lived, worked, how old he was. Things that would help me in my search.
I told her I’d call her if I found out anything.
“Why are you helping me?” she asked. And it was a fair question. After all, I didn’t know her.
“I’m a Christian,” I replied and I feel I’m supposed to help you.
Then I said, “That’s nice that you’re having a surprise party for your husband.”
She started crying. This person I didn’t know. This person that mattered and was more than a wrong number.
“My husband has cancer.” She said as her tears came through the phone.
“May I pray for you?” I asked.
There was silence for a few seconds and then she said, “I would like that very much. No one has ever asked me that before.”
And so I prayed for this woman I was getting to know. Prayed that we would find Pete Peterson. Prayed for her husband.
She cried again, called me an angel and we hung up.
Hours later I still had no leads. And I was done for the day. I knew God cared about this woman. Otherwise why would he ask me to stay on the phone?
The next day still brought me no closer to finding Pete. Finally I shared the story with a friend of mine who lived one town over.
“I used to know a Pete Peterson,” she said.
I needed to make sure this was the right direction so I asked, “How did he spell his name?” No use following wrong leads.
“No,” I responded to my friend when she told me her Pete Peterson spelled it, s-e-n.
And then, the next day I asked my friend for her Pete’s number anyway. What if Shirley was mistaken about the spelling? It might be worth a try.
So there I was calling a guy I didn’t know. Telling him about Shirley and her husband. He listened quietly and then he said. “I know them.”
I could hear him get choked up when I relayed to him how they had looked for him for years. He definitely would come to the party.
Calling Shirley was wonderful. Once again she called me her angel. And she asked if we could meet some time.
“Sure,” I said. “That would be great.”
We chose a Mc Donald’s in the next town. There was no doubt in my mind it was Shirley when I saw her walk in with a huge smile on her face.
“Are you Anne?”
I smiled back, “Yes.”
“You are my angel,” she said again.
“I hope you won’t mind but I picked out something I want you to have,” she said as she placed the gift before me.
I pulled off the fancy wrapping paper to reveal a beautiful porcelain angel. Her features were well defined and just looking at her made you feel wonderful.
And now that exquisite angel sits in my china cabinet. A wonderful reminder of what God can do if we just respond to his voice.
I’m no angel. All I did was listen.
About Anne Peterson
I write words you can feel, sometimes they rhyme. If I'm not writing, I'm telling stories from my head, to little ones who call me grandma.