When Your Call Comes, Will You Be Ready?

by Jay Fadden

Paper and pen beside a phone

When I was a young boy, I always enjoyed going to visit my grandmother. She was such a joy to be around. All of the grandchildren called her “Mom,” and she would greet us with a big smile and hug and always made us feel special.

In those days, we did not have a thousand cable stations or the internet or even cell phones. The TV had about 7 channels, counting the UHF channels, and if you wanted to call someone, you needed to be near a landline. While that lack of technology may horrify my children, I would argue that in many ways, those were better and more social times.

Televisions were in most homes, but there was also another device: the radio. Radio was a much bigger part of people’s lives when I was a child, as were newspapers. In my grandmother’s house, the radio was on the entire day. It acted as a companion and a friend as she would listen to talk shows and stay informed. The sounds of the radio filled her home.

But there was another reason that the radio was on. There was one particular station that would give a chance to a lucky listener to win the magic money number. Throughout the day, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, the station would randomly announce the big money number. Then, they would call a listener, and if they knew the correct total, they would win that cash prize. Without internet, the number could not be shared or sent, and since it changed throughout the day, you had to listen if you wanted to win. I would listen to that radio station when I was at Mom’s house and hear the people they called miss on the number, as they had not been listening at that time. It was really exciting.

My grandmother would always write down the number. She had notepads with hundreds of numbers crossed out from each time a new number was announced. We could be in a conversation, but if we heard that number, everything would stop so that Mom could write down the amount in case they called.

For years, that phone did not ring. It was rare that a listener actually got the correct amount and won, but still, Mom was faithful and would diligently keep the amount up to date. It was fun to be around.

Then, one day, the phone rang and it was the radio station. Mom was excited as she searched for her pad. This was a moment she had waited years for, and she was ready.

With a cool tone and steady voice, she said the amount, which was over a thousand dollars (which was a lot in those years). There was a pause at the other end of the phone. I could hear the whole transaction over the radio and was bouncing around. Mom stared at the phone and waited in anticipation. Did she miss a number? What was wrong?

“Congratulations, Ruth, you have won!”

There was an explosion of excitement in the house. After years of hoping and waiting, Mom had won, and all was right with the world.

After that day, Mom surprised me because she continued to write down the amount in hopes of “lightning striking twice.” She never did get another call, and a few years later they stopped the contest, but Mom had still won.

My grandmother had great hope and anticipation awaiting that call. She prepared herself and stood ready. In faith, shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we be ready and prepare by living a life of virtue? We may “miss a number,” but we can always continue to listen and get back on track. Our great hope and anticipation depends on our readiness and actions to achieve our desire to be with God.

Be ready for that call.


When Your Call Comes, Will You Be Ready?