Oftentimes we experience a series of disruptions in our day that lead to a completely different place or time than what we may have originally planned. A flat tire while on your way to work that takes you to the local mechanic to get it fixed. A letter in the mail informing you of an upcoming date for jury duty. A strong thunderstorm that causes an internet outage at home. 

That’s what happened when Isabel* woke up one day with a sore throat and chills. Instead of getting ready for another workday, she went to her local AdventHealth Centra Care for a COVID-19 test. A major interruption in her day that completely derailed her plans. 

As she was clicking through the self check-in screens at Centra Care, a set of unusual questions interrupted the process.

“Do you have a sense of peace today?”

“Do you have someone who loves and cares for you?”

“Do you have a source of joy in your life?”

Isabel puzzled over these questions. She was not in a particularly reflective mood that morning. Thinking of the nasal swab that awaited her, she quickly marked No on peace. But the questions on love and joy gave her a pause. 

A year ago, Isabel would have instantly answered Yes to those two questions while thinking of her mother who lived in South America. She had not seen her in months, and the lockdowns due to the pandemic had interrupted the time they would frequently spend together in the past. Isabel would visit her mother on long holidays and short vacations—anytime she could. Even while apart, she would say she received that strength and warmth only a mother’s love and prayers can give.

But one morning, Isabel was interrupted by a phone call that stopped her in her tracks: her mother had contracted COVID-19 and was in a steep decline. Then, in just a few short days, her mother passed. 

All the plans they had together—family trips, a grand reunion, stories to share, meals to cook, hugs and kisses stored up—would no longer happen. And with travel restrictions still firmly in place, Isabel couldn’t travel to South America to lay her mother to rest. 

As Isabel stared at those questions on the self check-in screens at AdventHealth Centra Care, it was clearly a No. She received her COVID-19 test result and was glad to know that her test came back negative. 

Divine Timing

A few days later, Isabel finally received word that she could travel to South America. While scrambling to make travel arrangements for herself and her family living in the United States, she was interrupted by another phone call. The caller ID read “AdventHealth.”

“We were calling to see how your visit went at Centra Care,” the voice on the phone said. The caller was from the e-Spiritual Care team from AdventHealth. “But more importantly, how are you feeling today?”

“It was fine, I guess,” Isabel responded. “Long wait. But my test came back negative so that’s good. The people were nice. And I’m feeling fine today.”

“I’m so happy to hear that your test came back negative and that you’re feeling well, Isabel,” the voice said. “We at AdventHealth care not only for your physical well-being, but also your emotional and spiritual well-being. I was wondering, do you have any emotional or spiritual concerns or stresses you’d like to share with me today?”

Isabel struggled to find words. “Oh wow,” she said, taking a moment to collect her thoughts. “Well, my mom passed away a year ago so I haven’t been able to see her.” She shared her upcoming plans to travel to South America and all the arrangements she’d had to make while being so far away. She shared her feelings of overwhelm and unprocessed grief.

“I’m not sure what to do with it all,” Isabel said. “And it’s so weird—I mean, interesting—that you would randomly call me right now and ask me this because I wasn’t sure who to talk to. What did you say your name was? Do you even have much time to talk?”

“My name is Alice*,” the voice on the phone said. “And I have time. No interruption at all.”


*All names and some details have been changed in this story to protect the privacy of those involved.