Over the last few days I have been frustrated in my attempts to connect with people by using my computer. I type messages that end up in my outbox rather than being sent. I find it surprising that I have no emails for a whole day (but what a gift that seems!) and then 22 messages appear at once! I try to fill out a registration form for an upcoming appointment and am unable at the last question to press “enter” or “save.” And in all of this frustration, I know that I am not alone.
I know as well that I cannot stop technological progress and as long as I resist, I am the loser. Technology has brought us so many amazing gifts. Grandparents who live at a distance from newborn children can see and watch them grow in real time. I was once allowed on a zoom call to meet with Sisters in Japan, Peru, Hawaii and three locations on the mainland U.S.A. at the same time. I participated this week with millions of folks across the country and beyond in the finale of The Great American Read sponsored by the Public Broadcasting System, celebrating in the end the “crowning” of To Kill A Mockingbird as the favorite novel of all time – a reminder of the great privilege of the access to books (electronic or on paper) and gratitude for the enthusiasm of readers everywhere.
In spite of all these technological wonders, however, I still hold to my preference for face-to-face human conversation. I spent a lovely day yesterday with eight women who wanted to talk about Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, The Wisdom Jesus. While we did, in fact, concern ourselves in some measure with that text and information about the author herself, we cast a wide net in consideration of faith, Church, spiritual practice and experiences as well as some personal sharing in the mix. The women are all members of the same parish and clearly care for one another. Diverse in age and experience, their desire to share their thoughts and feelings overcame the necessity of staying on schedule or covering material that had been proposed. In spite of the light cover of snow on the lawn outside I felt, at the end of our time, as if we had spent a day at the beach together, basking in the warmth of the sun, then testing the water – some just standing on the edge, others up to their knees and a few diving at intervals into the depths of a new ocean. The sharing is its own reward and I, as the invited guest, am the lucky one to have had this infusion of spirit on a glorious Thursday in late October.