It was a good plan, one that took into account both our needs and allowed us to get our stuff done without causing either of us to have a long wait. Basically, we both had to see people in the regional hospital an hour or so from home but we both also had a variety of other things to do–and since there were no real tempting movies playing, it would be an there and back trip, with the obligatory stop at the big grocery story.
The plan was simple. Before I headed to my appointment to get my hearing aids checked, I would drop my wife off at the store where she was looking for something. Then, when my appointment was done, I would call her and we would meet for lunch in the downtown area, after which we would do our hospital visits and shopping. Cell phones are a tremendous blessing when it comes to coordinating plans.
I actually got to see the hearing aid tech a bit early and the work they needed to do didn’t take all that long so I was back to the car within 10-15 minutes. The first attempt to call didn’t work–but I assumed that it was just because the phone and the car Bluetooth systems hadn’t finished talking to each other to get working together. I decided to head downtown, find a parking spot near the restaurant and try again–after all, I was early so I had time.
After the fifth failed attempt, I was beginning to think my phone wasn’t working.
After the tenth, I was positive there was a problem with the phone and was wondering if there was a phone store in the area where I could get the phone fixed or replaced. After a few more tries, I remembered that there were still pay phones in the town and headed for them–I actually had some change with me. After three attempts, I still wasn’t able to make a connection.
Frustrated, angry and hungry, I walked around the area, looking in all the stores I thought my wife might be in. Eventually, she appeared–frustrated, hungry and wondering why her cell phone wasn’t working and why I hadn’t called. Eventually, we discovered that one whole communication company infrastructure had gone down–the company we used. We eventually got lunch, saw the people we needed to see and did our shopping. Of course, we needed to visit the bank to get real money since the collapse took out most store credit card machines.
So, I am a preacher, which means that I need to find a moral in everything that happens–sermon illustrations are an important part of my life. This is a good story but I need to find the right sermon to drop it into. In fact, it is such a good story that it should probably have the prime spot in the sermon. Since I serve two different collections of churches, I will get to use to twice, maybe with different applications.
But right now, I am not exactly sure how I will use it. I am mostly aware of how much a relatively new technology has become such a basic part of my life. The first phone I used was a basic black Bakelite device fastened to the wall with a battery box under it and a crank to connect with the operator who would put the call through. Now, I have a high-tech device that will call anyone, connect to the internet, give me directions, figure out my finances, and help me hang pictures (I discovered and installed a carpenter level app).
With the old wall mounted phone, I could only connect with people if I was standing within the length of the phone cord on the handset. With the cell phone, I can call my friend in Kenya who is so far out of the way that his friends pity him. But of course, that only happens when the system works, which it didn’t the other day.
I am sure there is a great sermon illustration in that–but I just have to figure out how I want to use it. I am sure it will come to me. The fact that I have two chances helps.
But in the meantime, the next time we make a plan that depends on the cell phone, I may also include a backup plan.
May the peace of God be with you.