A belated thank you

Just as I was about to drive home from school today, I received a missed call from an unfamiliar number. Normally I do not return such calls, as often it’s a case of ‘wrong number’. But this time I decided to call back.
The voice at the other end of the line called out my name immediately. It was a lady. She sounded familiar although I couldn’t place a name straight away. The caller introduced herself and I recalled who she was – someone at church whom I counselled years ago.
Yes, believe it or not, years ago I received some training in counselling and one of my jobs was to help newcomers fit in at church. This lady had some issues and so I found myself driving to the other end of the island to visit her when she was feeling very down.
She told me she had just thought of me and wanted to thank me for all my help. I had a memory flashback…
The last time we communicated was probably over 2 years ago. It was remarkable that she remembered me. I said I was glad to hear from her. When we last met, she had already moved to another church and was seeking help there instead. She was going through so many tribulations – losses in every aspect of her life – that I feared she would kill herself, but she assured me she wouldn’t. One thing she still had was God.
I told her I was thankful she had called me, just as she was thankful for my help over the years. I have been feeling like a hot coal taken out of the fire and left aside for too long. It made me wonder: Did I actually do things like that a few years ago? What’s happened to me now? Did I turn work into an idol and commit so much time to it that I neglected caring for others? And now, have my studies (and related fears) been turned into an idol?
It made me remember the times when I gave back to my church community, mostly with my time, helping then co-leading groups and working on two versions of the website. I actually had a few hours to spend quality time with people I wasn’t particularly close to, but whom I got to know better in time. Even if it took up lots of time, I’d do it. If you asked me to do the same thing now, I wouldn’t.
During our conversation, another fear crossed my mind. Was she calling everyone she knew to thank them, and then kill herself??? I didn’t ask her that question directly but throughout our conversation she said she was feeling better and wanted to keep working at it.
This incident also made me ask myself what I’m really looking for in life. Sure, it’s cool to be in a famous business school with lots of parties, but at times I meet so many people at once that I can’t remember all their names, let alone hear them properly (in a crowded club), nor learn anything interesting about them. I would rather be in a one-to-one session with someone, or in a small group, in a saner place where I can hear what they’re saying. Maybe I’m more introverted than I think I am. Yet I like public speaking.
In any case I am thankful to God for prompting this lady to call me, because it’s certainly given me some food for thought into my past, my present and my future.