Hmmm…to explore technology and my use is not too difficult…I started using a “bag” phone when I got pregnant with my daughter some 19 years ago…I guess it would be twenty now! I worked about 75 miles from home and drove home late at night…that phone connected me with my husband and we talked many nights through rough weather and high expectations for our soon to be child…
Fast forward…when she was 14, she got a phone, a cell phone. She was one of the very last in her class of some 300 students. My take, “you should never be in a place without an adult who has a phone!” but as the activities got later in the evening, as the bus trips began to dominate, as her life expanded, the cell connected us more readily…there was no ‘free phone,’ no ‘cafeteria phone’ as there had been when I had taken those trips as a Middle school student. So, we acquiesced BUT there was no need for texting or computer or internet on the phone, to me, that was a ridiculous notion…
Fast forward…for her 15th birthday, she wanted texting. She’d “made due” with the limited number of texts, going over only once or twice, paying the extra money because of her errors soooo, we gave in and bought the “unlimited” texting. HOLY COW! I communicated with her more in that first weekend than we had in years. I truly thought I knew what was going on in her world, until she started texting me. Then I discovered a whole new arena of awareness, in the moment, on the spot, undiluted…and I was blessed…and I had to add unlimited to MY package!
My sons have been blessed by their sister’s pioneering nature in this area of life. When they turn 15, they too, get the unlimited texting and, now, the data package. I never thought I would even USE “google” on a phone, until I did. Now, I text, I e-mail, I look up things, find maps, connect through facebook and get pictures I’d never have gotten if I had to remember a camera everywhere…
The upside for me, I have great info on where my kids are, what they’re doing, and we are connected often even though I work 45 minutes from home and their school activities. Since I’m a commuter, it is a blessing to be able to access my info from my phone no matter where I might be currently. I can talk with parishioners, teachers, coaches, and my family from distances and be ‘in the loop’ almost immediately.
The downside is when folks will not allow themselves to embrace these technologies and make the distance an issue because of their reclusiveness. That’s hard for me, although I understand. There is too much to learn (I still send everything via e-mail rather than use “THE CLOUD”!) and there is too much that I don’t want to learn!
But the blessings of light, even superficial, connections far outweigh the quiet that are relegated to land lines, hard mail, and typewriters. I miss that ability to be unconnected in that, I was very much more focused in the moment when those were my only tools. I think it’s a movement of the Spirit, this new way of connecting, this new way of being in relationship…it’s not as personal and yet it is intimate–just between you and me if I so choose. Or it is so public that the whole world can take our communication viral! These digital, cellular connections create different roots, different relationships than could be afforded when I live so far from my parish.
I give thanks to God for folks who could create such technologies and such amazing gifts to folks like me, marginally educated, lightly aware, and constantly blessed!
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