A Coronavirus Chronicle #11

Competent and caring. Sharon was all that. And more.

Yesterday, I received a voicemail message (oft, in this quarantine-time, I do not turn my cell phone on, unless, of course, I want or need to talk with you!) from my online pharmaceutical firm: “Please return our call, for it appears that you may be missing out on an important part of your prescription plan benefits.”

In mine aging, I daily take a number of medications. And in these days overshadowed by a global pandemic, health concerns, always important, are elevated to a greater order of priority. Straightway, I called.

Sharon, her voice, equal measures of professional reserve and personable regard, once gathering the obligatory information so to assure that she was talking with Paul Abernathy, walked me through a series of questions. As a perceptibly standardized course of inquiry, doubtless, I thought to myself, she must do this many times each day. Nevertheless, throughout our 10-minute conversation, given her attention to my responses, indeed, to me, not once did I sense that this, for her, was a perfunctory exercise.

Then it happened. The sound of a child’s voice: “Mommy, it’s time for school!”

And an immediate spark of recognition: “Ah, you’re working from home.”

And, in Sharon’s one word, response, “Yes,” I heard another sound. Of mirth. Neither as a telltale signal of reflexive embarrassment of having been found out nor as an acknowledgement of the accuracy of my surmise. But rather, in that instant of summons by the most important person in her life, Sharon, as I intuited the moment, had been reminded of an ever-present necessity of balancing the duty of her occupation with the primacy of her life’s vocation.

Our call ending as professionally as it had begun and had proceeded, we, Sharon and I, each bid the other well: “Thank you and take care.”

And I silently prayed, “Bless you, Sharon, bless you, dear mother.”

2 thoughts on “A Coronavirus Chronicle #11

  1. That was awesome Paul!!

    I called Disney Cruise Lines yesterday to reschedule my trip with the kids over Easter which was cancelled..the Disney recording spelled it out in advance, advising that the Disney coordinator who would be helping you was working from home and they apologized in advance for any barking dogs, babies crying or kids demanding snack that may occur during the call. It was the best thing ever!! My call only had kids playing in the background and the person provided all of the help I needed! Interestingly, I had a Bless You moment last week when I called our IT Dept with an issue with my laptop. It was 6:20 am and this wonderful woman answered, as cheery as I am in the morning…after we talked for about 4 min I heard a baby whimper, not ever a cry. The IT specialist kept talking. The next thing I hear is clearly the sound of a baby nursing. And the woman kept right on talking creating a service ticket for me, asking me if she could help me with anything else and then told me to have a fabulous day! I was in AWE of her…and thought about her all day…. amazing things are happening during this time!! Bless them indeed!!

    Much love! ❤️❤️


  2. Loretta, as the coronavirus pandemic and our human responses – both individually and communally (including governmentally) and both good and ill – continue and with no end in sight (at least, as far as I can see) and with daily mounting bad news of infections and death and collapsing economies and people already on society’s margins being pushed farther out and away, these vignettes of your experience and mine are rays of light. For they tell the stories of folk who are doing the best they can with what they have at hand as they seek to be both professional and personable and to balance their professional and personal lives. God bless them richly, daily with the graces of perseverance, peace, and patience.

    Love you.


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