By Annmarie Miles
When I moved out of my parents’ house in 1999, I didn’t just leave my home; I left my homeland, scooting over the water to be nearer himself.
It cost £2.50 Sterling to send a text. I used to text my sisters, as sending a message to my mother was pointless. She would only ask my sister to ring me and tell me to wait until she was back from the shops before sending her a message on that thing.
I used to ring my parents once a week. Dad would give me a list of all the people who had been dead and buried since I’d called last. Honestly, some weeks the body count was longer than that of a feature-length episode of Midsomer Murders. By the time the phone was handed to my mother, she’d say the call had already cost me too much money. I’d get the usual warnings about being careful and not staying up too late, and I would be made to promise to ring again next week because she loved to hear how I was getting on.
It’s so different now. The likes of Facebook, Skype and Whatsapp have transformed the way we communicate. Social media gets a bad rap, and rightly so in some cases, but for those of us living away from home, it’s a way of ‘seeing’ our families regularly and keeping our ties bound in a quicker and cheaper way than ever before.
For the Christian, however, long-distance direct communication is not newfangled technology. I thought it was funny that my dad prayed every day without fail but couldn’t get his head around text messaging or Skype. My biggest mistake was saying the word ‘wireless’ to him one day; it led to a half-hour-long story about the first transistor radio he ever had.
Though connections are easier to make, they are often brief: skimming through photos and comments, a quick hello or just a simple ‘like’. Not always, but most times, it’s a mile wide and an inch deep. And that’s ok… as long as I remember that the original wireless technology was not designed for those types of fleeting moments.
Not all of my interactions come and go as fast as the click of a button. There’s one that takes time and quiet, turning off the tech and tuning my heart to a different frequency. Once I’ve done that, I can speak and listen at a better pace. Contact with God is way beyond social or even family ties. It’s a connection that stretches far beyond the cloud to heaven itself. I have a #smileyface just thinking about it.
Annmarie Miles is originally from Tallaght, now living in her husband Richard’s homeland, Wales. If you’d like to read more between VOX Magazines, her blog is called Just Another Christian Woman Talking Through Her Hat. The Long & the Short of it, her first collection of short stories, can be found at www.annmariemiles.com/books, or you can pick it up in Footprints bookshops in Dublin.