The popular radio counselor was sitting in her easy chair making small talk with General Patton when the phone rang. He rested his head on her knee, waiting, as if it might be for him. She called him Pat. He was a beautiful, well-trained dog – a Labrador.
“Is this Joy?” The man’s voice was rich and articulate.
“Yes. Who is this?”
“Paul Foxxe…remember, from the cafeteria where I spilled iced tea in your lap?”
Her warm laugh was music to his ears. “I’m sorry, Mr. Foxxe, but I haven’t been to a cafeteria nor had anything cold dumped on me lately. You have the wrong Joy.”
“Then your last name is not Rosemont?”
His good humor struck a pleasant chord with her as well. “No, again. Sorry.”
Paul was endearingly transparent in his thinly veiled attempt to keep her on the line.
“I simply wanted to offer my apology and pay for any dry cleaning, but the woman leaped up and ran out so fast I didn’t get a chance. The cashier gave me this number; obviously the wrong one.”
Joy spoke in a soothing, silky tone. “Well, I guess the soaked lady was freezing and probably didn’t realize you were a member of that nearly extinct group called gentlemen.” She was almost sure he was grinning.
“You know…” he began somewhat tentatively, “Your voice sounds very familiar. Are you a weather girl or news anchor?”
“No, nothing so grand as that. You may have heard me on the radio in the afternoons giving advice to confused humans who desperately seek solutions to relationship problems.”
“Bingo.” He recalled listening to that show and how on target she was with her insight into the sometimes-painful world of love and communication.
Joy felt an immediate and baffling kinship with Paul. “I feel like I’ve heard your voice too. Do you work in the media?”
His breath-taking Prince Charming laugh resonated with confidence and character.
“I guess you could call it media based, since I have a message. I am pastor of First Assembly Church over on Main Street.”
“Why, of course. Your sermon is on the Christian station I listen to in the night when insomnia comes to visit.”
“Great,” he teased, “I can put perfect strangers right to sleep.”
He felt like a tongue-tied adolescent instead of the strong man of God whose preaching held hundreds enthralled, but he plunged on with a nudge from his trusting heart. “ Say…uh, would you mind if I called you again – on purpose?”
With no coquettish posturing, her simple honesty was refreshing. “ I look forward to it. Good night.”
“Good night, Joy. God Bless.”
Thus began weeks of comfortable nightly connections. They discussed, joked, pondered, and even prayed. From things said and unsaid, each figured the other was not ready to meet in person. One evening, Paul summoned the courage to make a confession.
“Joy, there is something pretty important about me I haven’t told you, but I want to wait a few days.”
She had a big secret to share too, but decided to stay quiet for now.
“Hey, new friend,” she bantered lightly,” I’m always here.” She chastised herself. Why didn’t I just tell him?
The next morning, as the handsome young pastor struggled out of general anesthesia, his doctor delivered the good news. “Both corneal transplants worked perfectly. You can throw that white cane away!”
Paul tried to whisper his thanks before he slipped back into a restorative sleep,secure in the swath of bandages around his eyes. When he was able to push through the fog again, he realized he was still a slightly dopey post-op patient.
As the nurse removed his monitoring paraphernalia, she assured him he would be transported to the ophthalmology floor in a few minutes. Meanwhile, he was quite content to lie still and listen to his caregiver dispense gentle nurturing to this somnolent bunch; especially the new arrival parked beside him.
“ Wake up, Sleeping Beauty. Surgery is finished and the corneal transplant is in place. In a couple of weeks things in your world will be changing drastically.”
Pastor Paul gasped when he heard the patient’s response. He recognized that sweet voice he had come to love over the phone. Oh Lord, we were blind and now we see. Your ways are too wonderful to comprehend.
He would not speak yet. Later, at their first meeting, she would behold a true heart filled with pure joy.
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