by Stephanie Abney
We are busy people… probably TOO busy. Yet, I haven’t a clue what I could possibly leave out since there are so many things that I feel like I should do, that I seldom find time to do. So, whenever we have lessons on gratitude and people raise their hands with all of the obvious answers of love, family, gospel, prophets, temples, freedom, and so on, I say a hardy, “Amen.” And then I raise my hand and tell everyone that I am grateful modern electronic technology. That’s the absolute truth. I do it every time. I LOVE email, blogs, cell phones, voicemail, online photo albums, FACEBOOK, Classmates.com and the like. I’ve even learned how to text.
The thing that I love best about all of the above is that I can use them completely on my own terms and my own timetable. I read my email (and reply) when it suits me. The same applies for voicemail or checking out my FACEBOOK pages. And while I was sleeping, or teaching or traveling or whatever… someone left me a message or a link or some information that I need or want and when I get to where and/or when I want to look at it or listen to it, I am free to do so, even if it is in the middle of the night!
When our son, BJ, was so ill with leukemia, there were well over a hundred people who wanted to know how he was doing. Blogs did not yet exist as that would have been the best, I think. But I used email to stay in touch with everyone, even people in my own family, neighborhood and ward. It made it so that I did not have to repeat all the details over and over (which I could have never endured) and everyone knew what was happening, how they could help, what prayers were needed, etc. The support that poured in and surrounded us like a comfortable quilt carried us through the most difficult days of our lives. I wrote everything out once (which became my only journal of those times) and I clicked on all of the addresses and “poof” people all over the country (and even a couple out of the country) were thinking of us and our sweet BJ. I cannot tell you how much their reply emails helped us on several different levels.
From Classmates.com I reconnected with a few of my dearest friends in high school… and thirty years after our glory days, we met up in Hawaii for eight days of heaven on earth. We all remain in touch today and wish for matching schedules that would allow us to go to Hawaii again!
I’ve hooked up with former classmates, ward members and friends from the past through FACEBOOK and find it useful in keeping up with all of them (including family members). I also think part of the spirit of Elijah is being fulfilled as connection after connection occurs all over the world. It’s a wonderful thing.
So, yes, I’m grateful for electronic technology. However, it can’t take the place of the personal touch. Just yesterday I went visiting teaching and gave my sister a card that read on the cover, “In this fast-paced, busy world, when you need friend, just pick up the phone and call me…”
Inside it said: “And leave a message after the beep.”