Five Minutes

five minutes leftPhoto Credit: Deposit Photos


“I’m sorry to bother you again.”

“”Dad, you’re not bothering me.  Call anytime.”

My dad apologizes like this when he calls me.  Sometimes, I think he says it just so he can hear my response.  Because, isn’t it true, who doesn’t want validation and assurance that their presence is welcomed.

I’m sorry to bother you again.

My dad used to need a reason to call me up on the phone.  At least, in his mind he thought he needed a reason to call and talk.  Nowadays, he just calls for something to do and for someone to talk to for a little bit.  My dad isn’t much of a people person, but I am reminded that even anti-people people need people…if that makes sense.

I feel bad because quite often I have nothing new to report to him during the weekday.  Yes, it’s still cold.  Yes, Sean is still enjoying school.  Yes, my job is going fine. 

And his day?  The same as everyday, his roommate’s constant coughing keeps him awake most of the night,, the kids that live in the house are loud, but the food is not too bad.

That’s how our conversations go almost every single day and our phone calls rarely last more than five minutes.

I admit, it’s very easy for me to become distracted on these calls.  I think this happens  for a couple of reasons.  1. I’m a chronic multi-tasker  2.  If I stop too long to think about my dad’s situation, it makes me sad.  I’m 2000 miles away and I often feel powerless to make it any better.  Yesterday, after he said it again “I’m sorry to bother you” I was convicted.

Five minutes, Eileen.  What’s five minutes?  If I can’t give someone I love five minutes of undivided attention then there’s something seriously wrong.  Giving a person five minutes of our time might mean the difference between someone feeling like a bother or someone feeling loved and accepted.

Who needs five minutes of your focused attention today?   Who needs you to step away from your computer and phone and be all there?  Who needs you to look them in the eye and really listen as they share…even if it’s something you’ve heard a hundred times?

Five minutes. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to reassure a person in your life that they matter to you.


16 thoughts on “Five Minutes

  1. Laura Robb

    “…even if it’s something you’ve heard a hundred times”
    Yep, I’m guilty. Just yesterday I was a bit impatient with a family story I’ve heard over and over. Thanks for the reminder to see five minutes as an opportunity to focus, invest, and love the person in front of me.

  2. Debra

    This was precious, just precious. its wonderful you can still hear your dad’s voice. I can’t- at least not live. But when my daddy ( yes I called him that right up til he died) called he always said the same thing, “Hello Debra its your dad” like anyone else had that voice of his. As I think back he called often times for the same reason yours does, to just hear your /my voice to connect in some way – to know they are cared about. Sorry now getting sentimental at remembering my daddy.

    It serves to remind me to cherish and love the ones we have with us now, so they know they are loved …..

    Because from Garth Brooks If tomorrow never comes, I want them to know I loved them and tried every day to show them that…..

    1. Eileen Post author

      Thanks for sharing, Debra. I love that he always announced himself to you! It’s those little things that really stick with us after they are gone.

  3. Jeremy Riley

    Thank you for your vulnerability in this post. I too multitask while I’m on the phone and I know it brings down the conversation.

    I’m going to try this exercise and call someone out of the blue while being focused.

  4. Anne

    I spent 3 hours at the kitchen table last night with my Daddy trying to figure out some papers that he had to submit to the court. We finally got to where we understood what we needed to do and I have never felt so grateful. He was so relieved. He’s suffering from Parkinsons Disease and he’s having such a hard time just doing every day things and I can’t imagine how terrible it must feel to know that you are not as capable as you once were. I know that things are going to get worse, not better. That’s hard to accept. I know that I have lots more times like this to look forward to and I am grateful for the times that I’ve had with my parents up till now. Thanks for sharing Eileen. I read this post at exactly the right time.

    1. Eileen Post author

      Oh, Anne. Thanks for sharing. I love when we read something just when we need to hear it. You are good daughter. I’m glad you were able to help him through this. It’s weird. I didn’t watch my mom “age” before she passed…so this is new territory for me. It’s hard to watch our loved ones decline and suddenly we take on more of a “parent” role. Yes, a huge adjustment. Hugs to you.

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  6. Chris Monahan

    I would guess that could be the best five minutes of your dad’s day. Blessings to you for seeing/thinking how you can improve that time for him. A nice reminder that, as Jesus followers, we should strive to serve others, whether they be family or strangers.


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