I hate talking on the phone. Hate it. I am an editor. Editors like to write to people, not talk to them. I love my Apple iPhone, but not because I use it to talk to people. I use it for Internet, email, and facebook, all text-based communication formats. When it comes to calling people, my phone weighs about 100 lb (45 kg).
Living on the other side of the world, I rely on a variety of communication formats to keep in touch with people back home. For the most part, this means email or Skype. They are free, and they allow people to communicate at the times convenient for them. So, my friends in Texas can send me messages on Sunday afternoon, which is the middle of the night for me and vice versa. Occasionally, we will overlap very early or very late in the day, but for the most part, there is a bit of a lag in the communication. The phone is the only way to bridge that gap instantaneously.
We have a Vonage phone with a South Carolina phone number. To call me in India, you dial a stateside number, which rings through to my flat in India. My Vonage phone has voicemail. I did not really appreciate how awesome voicemail is until I moved to India, where no one has it. For cost reasons, people do not leave voice messages in India, so no one bothers to set up voicemail. To give you an example of how infuriating this can be, to schedule the dogs for a groom, I made three missed calls, sent two text messages, and posted a facebook message.
This week, I used my Vonage phone to call someone. My Saturday started the way most days do, at 6:30 am. After sending the boys off with the dog walker, I checked facebook to see what everyone in the US has been up to while I was asleep. That’s when I saw the private message. It was one of those messages that would have been a phone call if I had been in the US. So, I checked the time and decided to return the message by phone instead of email. I was glad I did. It was good to hear the person’s voice. From here, I cannot do much, if anything, to help with the situation. All I can do is offer support and virtual hugs—and pray.
I spent much of Saturday praying. I found myself praying at the oddest moments, even while getting my hair done. Prayer is the oldest form of communication and takes so many forms. Sunday, I watched a group of men chant their prayers in a Hindu temple. It was beautiful. Naturally, I captured this ancient prayer form on my iPhone digital camera.
Many people think that prayer has to be formal like the chants I saw, but it really doesn’t. You don’t need to know how to talk, read, or write to pray. Technically, you don’t even need to believe that someone hears your prayers or that your prayers will be answered. You just need to know how to think. That’s it. It does not cost anything. You can do it any time of day. There is no communication lag. When you don’t know what else to do, you can pray. People have invented apps for praying. That’s right. There’s an app for that. Do you really need an app to connect to God? Well, no. But, in our world of instant digital communication, it was only a matter of time before we digitized our relationship with God. Even the pope has a Twitter feed and a cell phone. Maybe I should call him.