Yesterday I was out for most of the day. I had made arrangements for the dog and checked the train times in advance. Cycling to the station I had a vague feeling I had forgotten something. On arrival my suspicion was confirmed: I had left my mobile phone at home.
This really shouldn’t have mattered. I didn’t need to make a call. I wasn’t even expecting a call. But not having my mobile bothered me to a surprising extent.
I was assaulted by a series of ‘What if’s’: what if the train is late and I can’t let anyone know? What if my bike gets a puncture? What if something goes awry with the dog ‘day care’ arrangements?
All of which made me realise how many times a day I must subconsciously reassure myself with the words ‘well at least I’ve got my mobile…’ So many times probably that I’ve ceased to be aware of my dependence on this unseen umbilical cord that connects me, not just to my mother, but to my whole world of friends, relations and other important people in my life.
I felt bereft, anxious and had to take myself in hand: ‘it’s not as if you’ve got any dependants at home waiting for you’. True enough. My only ‘dependant’ these days is the dog and he’s hardly likely to give me call…
‘HOME ALONE: Bobby quickly got the hang of pizza delivery’
‘Get a grip Sheila’ I said to myself ‘there are payphones after all’.
‘Yes, but the only numbers I know by heart are mine! Every other number I might need is in my mobile’
(What pitiful creatures technology has made us, I used to keep at least a dozen numbers in my head).
My mobile phone fulfills my childhood fantasy of having a communicator just like Captain Kirk on Star Trek. It even flips open in the same satisfying way. So often it was this little device that ‘saved the day’: the monster would advance, the polystyrene rocks would wobble and Kirk would whip out his communicator (did it have another name?) and utter the immortal words ‘Beam me up Scotty’. Zapped instantly back to the mother ship, he survived to save another planet in the next episode.
In the same way we have all come to rely on mobiles to get us out of a jam. What did we used to rely on when things went wrong? Our wits? The generosity of total strangers? And even, dare I say it, prayer? (Odd how something that’s meant to help us connect to people has actually made us more independent and isolated).
Thankfully I don’t need to remember to pack the presence of God. ‘I am with you always even to the end of the age’ contains no conditional clauses such as ‘so long as you’ve got credit’ or ‘assuming you can get a signal’. At all times I am in the presence of the Love that fills the whole world and holds the stars in place. Psalm 139 reassures me that there is no where I put myself that is beyond the reach of God’s love and Romans 8 tells me that nothing can separate me from the love that God has for me.
Now there’s a comforting thought (well, three actually).