The Call

Dr. Deborah Kuhls spoke these two sentences. She’s on the medical staff at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her statement is from today’s Wall Street Journal and its coverage of the mass shootings and slaughter. In addition to remembering, honoring, and praying for everyone affected by this tragedy, I’d like for you to think for just a moment about Dr. Kuhls’s statement.

Let’s narrow it down.

“So we called all the surgeons in.”

“…we called…”


A man or a woman was on the receiving end of those calls. They were off-work, doing the things they do as members of families, as individuals, as whomever or whatever. A ring or a buzz or some sort of personally chosen sound comes from a hand-held device. Each man or woman sees or hears a message, conveyed by voice or by printed words. After a passage of several minutes—the amount of time needed to arrive at the spot that requires their presence—every man or woman who had taken those calls is now on the scene. They begin to act in service of others.

I tend to refer to this sort of thing as the “extraordinary ordinary day.” That’s when you’re going about your business, doing your stuff, and through no choice or preference or forethought of your own, the River of Life takes a sudden turn. You have to shed the cares and ways of an ordinary day and face the brutal reality that something extraordinary is expected of you. What happens next will affect you and countless other people, for better or for worse. Those of you who know my ministry as a consulting leadership historian may guess what’s in my head—Chesley Sullenberger, for starters. The past is full of similar stories on a smaller or different scale. Perhaps there’s one in your past.

Regardless, though, there is a day in the future when the call comes for you.

What will those around you say that you did?