In this age of instantaneous communication, we have the power to almost touch millions with a few touches of the screen and a “Send” command. We can text message a group of “friends,” and then use “Reply All” to bounce our slight thoughts around the planet. It is fast, easy and above all things, convenient.
Phone calls can get prolonged, email exchanges protracted and even twitting or tweeting has elements of over-engagement. Digital communication has unlocked doors, broken down barriers and shrunk the planet.
But there is yet no replacement for direct interaction and real touch.
I was reminded of this yesterday when I made a short drive out to the local hospital for a short visit with one of our teachers. Her husband opened the door after I knocked. I saw the teacher sitting up on the bed, her mother seated to the side. Obviously, the patient had improved since her admission over the weekend due to intense abdominal pain. Her perspective on that was that it exceeded the pain of birthing three children. I was in no position to argue the point and was inclined to take her word on it.
We visited for a few minutes and I assured her, per instructions from her department chairperson, that her colleagues’ schedules were permitting them to fill in for her and take care of all her classes. (That sort of thing is a hallmark of faculty caring for each other and their students and is part of what makes Cowley College a great place.) “They’ve been great,” she responded with an expression of sincere appreciation.
As I was getting ready to leave, I asked if it would be okay for me to pray with them. They all responded enthusiastically and we gathered around the bed, joined hands and solicited God’s blessings—on her, all those who attend to her and to her family and loved ones. After closing the prayer, I wiped my eyes and looked at each of them and thanked them for the privilege of praying with them. I shook hands with the mother and the husband. The teacher got out of bed and hugged me.
The strength of her hug and the look in her eyes as she thanked me again almost moved me to tears. You don’t get that with a wireless connection.