In 1876, an internal memo from the Western Union read, “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” Western Union, nor the world at large, could have ever imagined the revolutionary power they held in their hands. Like a small acorn that turned into a forest of oaks, that “worthless” device would become one of the biggest phenomenons of the next two centuries.
Life has been radically changed by the cell phone. It is no longer just a device used for communication; it is quite literally the calling center of our lives. For years I refused to embrace all the technology, conveniences, and components of the cell phone. I gladly flipped my phone up when I needed to make a call, and back down when the conversation was over, and that was it. Not anymore.
I use my phone for just about everything. My calendar, my photos and videos, my social media, my banking, my investments, my books, my study material, my music, my note-taking, and my GPS all coordinate into a pretty seamless, neat device. In addition, I have a couple dozen apps that provide sermons, devotions, news outlets, games, podcasts, blogs, and just about anything else you can imagine. And I occasionally use it to make calls.
The full functionality of the phone is phenomenal. It has become an inseparable part of who we are. It is hard to go throughout the day without it in hand. It is borderline addiction, is it not?. The compulsory usage is almost comical. Have you ever hoped the traffic light would turn red so that you could check your phone? Have you ever felt anxious when your phone is misplaced? Have you ever texted someone who was just a room or two away? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you just might be married to your phone.
Think about it, we often treat our phones better than we do our loved ones:
- It is with us at all times, and rarely leaves our side
- It constantly and continually has our attention
- It is protected and guarded from bumps and bruises
- It contains all the vital information of who we are and what we do
- It “knows” our schedule and our interests
- It is a vital part of our every-day life
- It is loved, admired, and wooed
I personally appreciate the benefits and conveniences of the cell phone, but it can lead to an impersonal community and network. Instead of face-to-face interaction we have reduced our relationships to words and imagines on a screen. Ironically, its time-saving functions have actually reduced the time we spend with those we love the most. So let your phone be your phone, and your spouse be your spouse. What makes the cell phone so important is the other people we speak with on the other end of the line (well, actually we are wireless these days, but you know what I mean).
In short, cut off the phone and reconnect with those down the hall.