This year as we celebrated Christmas I couldn’t help but be thankful for how technology has enabled me to celebrate the day in such a profound and meaningful way.
Years ago, being away from your loved ones meant trying to make a phone call to them. And when I say TRYING; I exaggerate not. You would pick up the phone and dial only to hear DAH-DAH-DAH, “I’m sorry all circuits are busy…please try back later,” pre-recorded by a cheerfully chirping white woman who sounded like your Aunt Betty. This telephone fiasco would last all day and well into the night until your knew the telephone company’s “Aunt Betty” intimately.
Finally, around 9 p.m. Pacific standard time your call would go through and you would feel like you had won the lottery! Of course, by the time you actually did reach your party on the East Coast, they would already be in bed, half-asleep, and pissed that you had woken them up. “Why didn’t you call earlier?” would be their endearing response. Three weeks later you would receive your telephone bill and and have to mortgage your house to pay for the exorbitant bootlegger fees you incurred for the privilege of talking to your pissed off relatives. Ahhh, yes, those were the days!
Yesterday, I skyped with our grown son and daughter. I saw the babies playing with their presents and the happiness in Nicole’s eyes as she spent her first Christmas in her own home. I saw the seven-month-old crawling for the first time, heard the dog barking, and listened to the two-year-old sing me her rendition of Silent Night. And during this time of immense family pleasure and connectedness I kept thinking that this is what new technology is suppose to be all about. Not about killing, not about using it for countries to spy on their citizens, and it certainly should not be used for torture. Technology is meant to be used for good…saving lives in hospital operating rooms, warning us of weather emergencies and brewing that first perfect cup of steaming coffee on an equally foggy day.
And so, on this day after Christmas, may you use your new technology to skype, ipad, and keyboard to bring happiness, joy, peace and love to people near and far. May your smile brighten someone’s day, may your words inspire a friend to reach farther than they have ever dared, and may your mere presence on that computer screen bring comfort to a loved one in need. And most of all use your technology to do good in a world that thirsts to see the kindness and love that is innate in all of us.