In many ways, 2021 is no different from 2020, at least...not so far. Not having to say “2020” is encouraging, but being careful - and perhaps a little suspicious of every stranger we pass in the grocery aisle or on the sidewalk - is still the new norm. If we can save lives by being cautious - even practicing an abundance of caution - is certainly worth the inconvenience. Still, it is painful to be separated from those we love...especially our precious grandchildren.
Sammie and I have been blessed to spend a little time with all of our grandchildren in the past year - just not as much as we would like. Still we can connect, electronically. For this, I am very thankful.
We have never done Facebook. We are limited in the amount of social media in which we participate. We do enjoy a certain amount of Face Time, though. Both of us have attended meetings via “Zoom” or “Teams,” but those are no fun at all compared to conversing with our precious grandchildren through electronic media.
In a recent Face Time interaction with K.G., for example, our 7-year-old princess danced and sang and even kissed the screen. She’s so much fun, and she was so glad to see us. Our hearts melt when she tells us that she wants to be with us. We have spent entirely too little time on Face Time.
K.G.’s even cute when we just hear her voice on the phone. Usually, we go to speaker phone, even when only one of us is talking. I wish you could hear her tone when I’m conversing and Nahnee whispers something in the background...”I hear you Nahnee!” As if to say, “I caught you, ha, ha!”
Neither Face Time nor Facebook is a good substitute for face to face. Getting the word there is not the same as being there. Even seeing our loved one on a screen, even when we can interact in real time, will never take the place of being able to hug and kiss that precious one.
On the other hand, when circumstances prevent us from being there...in person...face to face...we should make the effort to connect in whatever way we can, whether it be phone, computer, or old- fashioned snail mail.
The same is true for children communicating with our heavenly Father. We are unable to actually see Him, until we get promoted to Glory. Most of us want to go to heaven, but few of us are in a hurry to get there. But until we are with Him in heaven, we have a means of communicating with Him at any time. It’s called prayer. We don’t have to sign in or remember a password or be sure we are in an area where we get a good signal. We can talk to Him anytime, from anywhere.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, regarding seeing and knowing the fullness of God’s love, Saint Paul wrote, “Now we see as about as clearly as a reflection in a dirty mirror (or maybe a computer screen?), but in that day we will be face to face (with our loving Father)...and we will know as we are known...”
We look forward to being with family, again. Maybe the vaccine will be available for everyone soon. We also look forward to being in the total presence of God. Until then, instead of just sitting around waiting, let’s use the available media for frequent communication with those we love - electronic devices for family in this life and prayer for our Heavenly Father.
“...now faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love...”
Steve Playl, retired pastor and chaplain, columnist, and college instructor, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org