Just waiting for our next call


The rumbling sound of their trucks didn’t really obstruct our communication or understanding. We knew exactly why they were there.

The large utility trucks rumbled as they idled in the parking lot outside our WSRQ radio station where we’d just finished our live broadcast with our amazing guest, Laura Gilkey. The revered and beloved mother, wife, friend, and incredible lady. Mom of Benjamin the Brave who lost his precious 9-year-old life to cancer earlier this year.

We approached the truck, still reeling from our guest’s poignant, graceful and utterly honest sharing of her family’s journey with life and death. In the radio studio, Laura shared that she could not have survived if not for the tremendous support of family, friends and community as she beautifully and emotionally chronicled her story.

We shielded our eyes from the sun and squinted up at the two drivers in the truck from Manchester, New Hampshire. We couldn’t hear them above the deafening engine sound, but the four of us nodded in mutual understanding.

The helpers post-Irma came far and wide.

“You all just waiting to restore power around here?” Poppy asked.

The curly-blond haired passenger smiled. “Just waiting for our next call.”

And it got us to thinking—more feeling—about how we wait for our next call.

We had pre-Irma thoughts and feelings, and post-Irma thoughts and feelings. Our minds were upside down. We couldn’t recall with ease what day of the week it was. Many nerves were frayed after Irma came through, as we imagine people had used up most of their energy levels in the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid—in pure survival mode. Irma’s noise levels certainly went way beyond city ordinances. Not going to lie—Irma’s “voice” was terrifying to experience.

Post-Irma, many “goodwill” reservoirs that had been so depleted, had yet to refill.

Our book signing at Bookstore 1 Sarasota had to be rescheduled. Several of our speaking events were also rescheduled. Yet our thoughts from September 11, the day that Irma came to town, was how grateful we were to be alive and surrounded by a compassionate, collective humanity.

Post-Irma gave us all the opportunity to realign our priorities. Irma gave us the chance to look more closely at the myriad of positive possibilities in front of us. Where there is tragedy and loss, there is also goodness. It’s right there. We just have to allow the space for our awareness.

If there are relationships in our lives that feel “off” or have “no power,” please consider making a list of all of the attributes about that person that are cherished. We wrote our book, One Billion Seconds, to help others come together in better communication—to be vulnerable and real in our expression is what we’ll share at our book signing.

When we spotted these angels from the north who’d come to literally and figuratively “empower” us, we took the time to be grateful—to acknowledge their service. To appreciate their dedication and long hours in our sweltering sun. To nod in gratitude as they patiently waited for their next call.

Sharing time with Laura in the studio as we asked questions of her that were tough to answer, immediately put any challenges or petty annoyances out of range. Laura, her devoted husband, and family, channeled grief into a foundation for pediatric cancer research. That was her next call after her beautiful boy had passed. Laura showcased what it looks like to be on the threshold of bittersweet grace.

And when we took the time to share our gratitude with the New Hampshire linemen—strangers, helpers, angels—as they waited, we also re-calibrated the thoughts, feelings and behavior we each own. So we too, will be ready when we receive our next call.

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Poppy and Geoff Spencer