We have had an interesting scenario play out in our house over and over. It started with a cell phone. I remember clearly the day my husband got his first cell phone. I remember it well because it coincided with another big event in my life. I was trying to regain consciousness after having a hysterectomy. I remember struggling, still half sedated, to ask for a sip of water, while he set up his phone, trying to convince me the phone would be a great asset to us both. "You'll be able to get a hold of me 24 hours day, whenever you need something." Right. We were in the same room and I couldn't get his attention to get me a drink of water. I think I have resented cell phones ever since.
The next event occurred when after dropping his phone in a glass of soda in his truck, he decided he would have to have a new one. By this time the addiction was in full swing, so there was no quitting cold turkey from cell phone access. This time he surprised me with my own phone, so I could "get connected". I was thinking how awesome it would be on my next surgical procedure to be able to call Chris from my hospital bed and request a drink of water. With my luck however, there would be roaming charges from the bed to the chair.
My excitement was short -lived however. Chris used his phone so frequently, and dropped it so frequently, it began to short out. Since his phone was for business purposes and work, he needed one that was dependable. Guess whose phone was readily available. Yep! Mine. I was given his beautiful camouflage phone still sticky from pop to use until our contract could be renewed and new phones purchased. At least in a moment of post surgery thirst I could suck the rest of the pop from the phone.
Once again, new phones were purchased and I was given a shiny new phone. Guess who ran over their phone with a truck? Guess who inherited the camo phone again? I must say my phone was greatly admired among and "bubbas" and the "git er done" crowd in our community.
By this time, the camo phone was beginning to have it's own difficulties- I could no longer read the screen. I never knew if it was on or off. When I tried to retrieve messages, I called my doctor, and when I needed to get in to the doctor I retrieved messages. It was frustrating. SO finally, once again, new phones were purchased because my husband's old phone didn't get a strong enough signal. Once again I had a beautiful new phone, until I asked my husband to protect it during another surgery. He sat on it in the waiting room and busted the screen.
A friend took pity on me at church, and brought me one of her old phones that worked perfectly. It was such a blessing!
Finally, we qualified for new phones and I was given a new phone. I debated about whether to go and just give it Chris so I wouldn't get attached. I felt like I was running a foster program for cell phones. This time, however, my phone came with an added feature- a lecture. The Evil Knievel of cell phone destruction, was lecturing me on properly caring for our new cell phones. "We can't get new phones for 2 years, so we have got to make these last." I was beginning to think the cell phone contract would last longer than our marriage. I felt like I was listening to Roseanne Barr teach a parenting class. I turned into Roseanne Barr for a few minutes and gave a few choice remarks about who did and did not have a right to lecture about cell phone care.
The next afternoon I went to church to peel 70 pounds of potatoes for a church dinner. (I didn't find out there where 70 pounds until I got there.) I thought we were going to have to soak them in the baptistery to keep them fresh until the next day. I was alone in the kitchen, and decided to use my new speaker gadget on my phone and kill two birds with one stone. I was enjoying a wonderful conversation,with my phone propped up on a bowl to be closer to my mouth, when as I turned to reach for another potato I heard a devastating noise. It was as jarring as hearing the front of a ship crashing into an iceberg. On the right day, in the right place, it could have been the sound of a frog leaping into his favorite pond. It could have been the sound of a precious saint being submerged into their watery grave of baptism. But it was instead the sound of a cell phone plunging into the depths of quarter inch peeled potatoes soaking in water. Roseanne was quickly replaced by Lucy. 24 hours after obtaining a new cell phone, I had committed the same crime I had been hanging over my husband's head for years. As my phone bubbled and sputtered I quickly sprung into action. I opened it up, placed it on a microwave safe plate, and prepared to nuke it dry, when I realized-----no, I didn't realize I would melt the circuitry. Instead I worried Chris would call and the phone would still be on speaker and he would hear the microwave beeping, or worse he would get ear cancer from the radioactive waves pouring from the microwave through my phone into his.
I laid the phone out to dry, and after a few a hours I heard a sort of bubbly ring.
"Hey, honey, I've been trying to call you. Have you had your phone off?"
"What's the matter?"
"I had a little accident."
"You dropped your phone in water didn't you?"
The man can't perceive when his wife needs a drink a water, when he's in the same room, but he can tell when she's messed up from clear across town!That stinks!
He was very understanding, well, smug would be a better word. I was very humbled. And the phone seemed to be fine.
Until this week.
My screen is gone. It's horrible! Do you know what it's like to answer a phone and not know whose on the other end?!!! I was reminded that was the way phones worked for years. I never realized how much planning and thought went into every phone call. I answer the phone differently according to whose calling.
Our pastor gets my best Ruth Graham voice, "Reeder Residence, where God Reigns Everyday."
The Prayer Chain gets my militant "ready to do battle in the heavenlies" voice.
My children get my "momma loves you and is trying really hard not to get aggravated because you've called me 10 times in 10 minutes" voice.
My husband gets my "I'm so tired, ask me if you can pick something up for dinner" voice.
Some of my perfect friends, get my " everything's peachy, you'll never know my house is a mess" voice.
And some people just get the " I'm not here leave a message at the beep" voice.
How fake is that? I can't even be real and genuine answering my telephone!
How I desperately need to be more Christ-like in my conversations. He was a Master Communicator.I realized that with Christ's omniscience (being all knowing), every person He spoke to- He already had their number. He knew every past, present, and future detail of their lives. Yet, with love and compassion He would weave a masterful conversation, patiently pulling them to draw the conclusion He already knew, or gently extracting information He already had, much like the woman at the well.
In the story of the rich young ruler, who vainly thought he had never broken any of the commandments, Jesus could have named the time, place,and motive of every commandment the young man had broken. But Mark 10:21 says, "Then Jesus beholding him, loved him". He knew how arrogant this man was. He knew he would not heed the advice to sell all he had. But Jesus doesn't avoid the call or conversation. He doesn't use a "I'm too busy to waste my time with someone who won't change" voice. Every conversation is treated with the same attention, time, and purposeful intent.
Christ's goal- each conversation presented an opportunity to change or grow an individual and He intended to make the most of it. Some embraced the opportunities, others, like the rich young ruler,didn't. Yet, all were given the 100% attention of the Master. He could be honest in His correction because He was even more liberal with His love. He revealed truths without causing others to become defensive. He slipped away when he could, but He was pleased to be found.
Imagine the change that could take place if we would be honest and open with one another.How often are our conversations gauged by what will it cost us, or what can be gained? Kissing up to that person, pacifying this person, avoiding that person, and yet chasing down another person.
I want desperately to have Christ-like conversations. To approach each one with a love, that the Father has for that individual. To give Christ an opportunity to use my lips to touch hearts and change lives through the spoken word. Imagine the thrill, if we knew that when we opened our mouths, Heaven grew quiet to hear another conversation that sounded so similar to ones they heard over 2000 years ago involving a Carpenter from Nazareth. Oh, to have dialogues that even the angels want to join!
SO yes, I have grown in my faith since bathing my phone. I have faith that no matter who calls, when I respond with God's love, He will direct the conversation if I am yielded and listening to His Spirit.
I have Faith From Potato Water, I can say in my "I'll try to do better, Lord" voice. Wait, my phone's ringing.. ahhhh, Lord can I start that love thing AFTER this call?