Sharing reflections on the pros and cons of instant communications. I am tethered by instant communication to loved ones. I can text my kids, my grandkids, maybe even hit their contact on my cell and hear their voices. Facebook gives me visuals of events I might miss otherwise. I attend weddings vicariously by flipping through Facebook postings. My cell even keeps me connected to three different email accounts. I AM CONNECTED.
And some days I long for an experience I never had. Communication sent in ink on paper and delivered by Pony Express or picked up at the local post office. No telephones, not even the old fashioned kind you cranked. I would not know the crisis of the day causing a loved one to struggle. I would not read an email and sit wondering what to say, how to respond. I’d go through my day happy, smiling at the flowers blooming outside my window, listening to birds singing instead of battling tears over struggles overwhelming a family member or a friend.
Imagine it. I’d open a letter that took weeks to reach me by Pony Express or ten days to be sorted for rural delivery or stuffed in a mailbox. Just visualize it. I’d open the letter and let out a cry, bring my hand to my cheek, wipe away a tear and turn to the neighbor collecting her mail to share the troubling news. The fire that took a home, a death of a loved one, a bitter quarrel among family members, a falling out between friends, whatever the sad news was in that letter was old sad news. No instant response was possible.
I’d go home. Think about it and I’d think some more before I sat down to pen a letter. The quarrel might have escalated to something uglier or it might be forgotten. Rebuilding the burned out home might be close to finished and time for a housewarming approaching. The grief over the loss of a loved one might have ebbed and joy arrived, especially if there was a strong faith. So I’d have time to pray, think, contemplate and then write a letter that would reflect wisdom, love, and God’s hope.
But in this era of instant communication, it’s too easy to answer hastily and without thought or prayer. Instant communication can be gift or burden. And there are days I want to turn off my cell, stay away from the internet, retreat to the era of the Pony Express or slow, tediously slow, mail delivery.
Had one of those days yesterday. But not today. Today I talked to a much loved grandson for an hour on the phone. This young man has moved from brief sentences and short replies to long articulate, intelligent conversations.
He was on his cell. I was on my landline with my cell nearby to check messages and emails. His grandfather sat and listened to my side of the conversation. He commented that our grandson has become a conversationalist. I agreed.
I hung up smiling, thanking God for the gift of phones, for text messages, for emails, for all the various internet communication opportunities. But I also prayerfully wish that people would use these gifts for good and not to stir pots of problems.