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woman with cell phoneI love reading posts like Ruth’s. The little blessing really do mean a lot.

Lately, I have not been feeling blessed. If anything, I feel beleaguered, put upon, picked on and stressed.  Dad has been booted from his assisted living apartment – he is immobile and thus needs more help than they can give. As we work to find someplace for him to live, he’s been in the hospital twice.  We found rehab but not residency and had to keep looking.

Stressful times, yes, but I still didn’t get it. Why was I being such an unholy b-word? I have a hot-tamale temper but this was above and beyond.

I prayed for calm.  I prayed for soothing.  Why wasn’t I hearing that still, small voice that so often contains the answers to my problems?  Instead, my attention kept going to my cell phone. Yeah, yeah. I should check and see if I have another message from my sister.

I prayed but my temper stayed hot. Then came three phone calls and 24 messages in 90 minutes. I was me more than a little frayed. I needed a break and grabbed a magazine.

There I found an article about how to handle the stress caused by our electronic devices. The writer discussed how to get out from under the huge onus of texts, e-mails and tweets. Skim your e-mail and messages by sender.  Pick out the few that are truly important and deal with them.  If you don’t get to the others?  Pfft. A lot of people will message or e-mail you instead of finding something out for themselves.

What a minute.  God, are you trying to tell me something?  The three calls and 24 messages above were mostly “check on what this person says and then get back to me with it” or “tell me again what you’ve already told me because I don’t want to scroll up.”

I picked up every phone including my cell.  I gave them to the teens gaming in my dining room. “Unless someone is dead or dying or there’s a fire, tell them I’m in Australia herding wombats.” Anyone who knew me would know that this meant “I’ve had it and will call back later.”

When one of my texters didn’t hear from me immediately she called.  “She’s in Australia,” said my son.  “Herding wombats,” yelled the others.  “I know she’s been texting you. Now I have the phone,” said my son. “You can talk to her after 5. After 5.”

God, you pointed me at my phone. Why did it take me so long to figure out you were telling me to disconnect?  Truthfully, I can be a little slow. I’m just glad that on the day I figured it out, I had a roomful of willing teen accomplices.

And the funniest part?  Once I listened and removed myself from the equation, they worked things out on their own. Yesterday, I had one phone call and 2 texts all day long. God really does bless us with the answers to our prayers.  We just need to hear the answer he’s sending.

–SueBE

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Ruth’s right. The world is getting less and less gracious by the millisecond. Perhaps it has something to do with our attenuated attention spans. The last time I was at Disneyland, I was astounded by the number of people talking and texting on their phones. You’re at Disneyland. How is that not exciting enough for you? How can you possibly need more stimulation?

The paradox is that we need grace more than ever these days. There are so many more of us to accommodate. So much more to forgive. I once tried to eat a lovely Chinese dinner while the woman at the next table enthused (loudly) about the intimate details of her father’s illness (his blackened toe, what it looked like after surgery) over her cell phone. And when one call ended, she called the next person and related the same. gory. information. I never needed divine intervention more. Also, an anti-nausea pill.

I’m going to suggest something radical. Let’s put down our phones and attune ourselves to those around us. Let’s become aware of each other. Maybe without our Smartphones glued to our ears, we will hear the needs of our neighbors. Because graciousness is goodness, and goodness is God-ness. I want to be in the business of God, and I’m sure you do, too. We’re just too busy talking on the phone.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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