I scrounged through my purse to find my phone. I hadn’t looked at it all morning. That is pretty unusual for me, but every now and then I get busy with the real world. As I glanced down at it panic set in. I had six missed phone calls. That usually means an emergency. They were all from my husband. No voicemail. My daughter was with me so I knew she was ok. The daycare hadn’t called so I didn’t think it was my son. What had happened?
I called him immediately to figure out what was going on. He said, “What’s the use of that thing if I can’t reach you on it when I need you?” He had a point. There have been times when I have also tried to get him and been very frustrated when he didn’t answer his phone. And usually I can ignore the phone for one morning and no one will miss me. But every now and then someone needs me; my husband, a parishioner, a friend. And when they do they call my cell phone.This is the debate surrounding technology. This is why people DON’T have cell phones. Why on earth would anyone want to be accessible 24 hours a day? It’s not really a fair question. No one WANTS to be accessible 24 hours a day. Even Jesus found ways to escape from the crowds and spend some time on the mountain my himself. But we do want it to be easier for people to get to us.
When someone is in trouble I want for them to be able to reach me. I also don’t want to be tied down to my office. I want to be able to be out and about and still feel like I’m connected. To not have to worry that someone who needs to talk will miss me. I want to be available. And I truly want people to reach out to me.
However, I also want to spend uninterrupted time with my family. I want to eat at the dinner table without feeling like I might miss something. I want to go visit with someone in the hospital and not worry about missed phone calls and a full inbox.
I want a lot of things…
The digital world has made us greedy. Yes for newer and better technology (by the way my new iPhone 5 is in the mail right now!) But also for having it both ways. For wanting to work from wherever, even from home. Yet at the same time not feel like our personal and family lives are being intruded upon. For being available to anyone who needs us (even our husbands), but not neglecting the people we are actually with.
My life of discipleship, of following Jesus, has taken me on a precarious walk. I walk a fine line of availability and openness to all and availability and openness to the ones I am physically present with. This is my constant struggle. Lord grant me the wisdom to figure it out one of these days. And in the meantime, sorry sweetheart. I’ll be better about checking my phone.