What kind of phone did you have in your house growing up? Ours was an avocado green wall model (rotary of course, because you had to pay more for touchtone), and it was in the kitchen. When you talked to people on the phone, everyone could hear what you said. I remember having a gossipy giggly conversation with my girlfriend, and feeling my father’s stern gaze upon me.
My fondest dream was to have a phone in my own room so I could have private conversations like the people in the movies. It was possible to buy an extension phone from Bell Canada in those days, but it cost a lot of money (probably $6 a month), and that was a luxury. Very un-Mennonite. I only knew one person who had two phones in their house. I also remember listening to my grandmother on the phone. She called my aunt the minute something newsworthy happened. My sisters and I called it “the hot-line to Virgil”.
Today in our house we have a landline with two receivers that you can take anywhere, even in the backyard, and we have an answering machine. And all four people in my family each have their own cellphone. Our cup runneth over with communication tools. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives!
I wonder though, am I closer to my friends than I used to be? Is our church community more connected than ever because we’re all carrying cellphones? Do I communicate more on the phone than my parents did because I have more tools? When I think about it, I think I probably use the phone less than my parent’s generation, because I email a lot of people, so I don’t have to phone them. That’s ironic. It’s more convenient and easier to phone than ever before, but I look for ways to avoid phoning if I can. I guess to save time . Or something. Hmmm…what is it?
This Sunday we’ll be trying to put the words “God” and “cellphone” in the same sentence. What will we come up with?
God’s answering machine message: “Why are you calling me? I’m standing right beside you!”