It’s been ten days now since the Naranjos returned to Ecuador, and slowly but surely life is returning to “normal.” That is good in some ways, not so great in others. Our house suddenly looks a lot bigger, the table is smaller, and the bathroom is almost always empty. It is also very, very quiet around here now. I now have lots and lots of closet and drawer space—even more than I had before since I had brought in extra dressers and even a large wardrobe to accommodate their family of eight. I would gladly trade that extra space for the clutter of toys and crafts and little shoes left here and there. The grocery bill last week was one third what it has been, and I’m cooking for only one or two instead of a whole gang, but I miss the “Thank you, Grandma! Yummy!” comments every one of those kids would give me before, during and after every meal. I appreciated their grateful spirits and of course was glad they liked Grandma’s cooking.
Bob was in Atlanta for several days this week and suddenly for the first time in a long time it was just Robbie and me on our own. I discovered I was nervous at night, which surprised me since I’ve rarely ever been nervous before about being home alone. I hung a cluster of jingle bells on the front door in my living room, and put the chain on the kitchen door in case someone tried to break in. I would have a few seconds of forewarning then—just enough, perhaps, to call 911. Secretly, I wanted to stack furniture up in front of the doors, but that would have been going overboard, I suppose. I’ll get over it, I am sure. It’s just that I’ve gotten used to having people around and now being alone seemed—strange.
The hardest thing during this transition has been the lack of “connection” I’ve had with them. The day they traveled they managed to call or Skype along the way so that we knew things were progressing well. Then for the next couple days I was able to call them on their local Cuenca number. It was more expensive to call that way, but I felt that if I limited the length of my calls I could still check in with them every day. Once they had their internet set up again, we would resume calling via Vonage—which meant unlimited calling for practically nothing. The problem was, their internet company couldn’t get them hooked up for a week or so, and calling the local number lasted only two days. Suddenly every time I tried to call, the line was mysteriously busy.
Frustration. I missed talking to Laurie and the girls. I missed seeing the funny faces of the little ones on Skype. I missed having the peace of mind that I could just pick up the phone or click on Skype and talk to them anytime for as long as I wanted. Being separated from them by thousands of miles and three or four years is made more bearable with today’s technology in communications. That easy connection with them enables me to feel that they are right here with me, sharing our days and new events; seeing their growth and changes; connecting in every way except for the kisses and hugs. It is what keeps our hearts connected. Without it, I felt even more alone.
At last! Their internet is finally up again! I was tickled to talk to Sara, Gabi and Melissa Friday night and surprised to hear that they were feeling just as lost without that connection as I was. I thought with all the excitement of being home again and seeing their Ecuadorian family and friends that they wouldn’t be missing us at all—at least not yet—but they were and they seemed just as excited to be reconnected as I was! Katie and Matthew were already asleep in bed that night, so the next day I Skyped with them. They shared a chair in front of the computer and were so wriggly that they were almost a constant blur, but I could see their big grins and giggles. My heart grinned right along with them! And our baby Mandy pointed her little finger at the screen and waved “Hi!” at Grandma and Grandpa. Just talking to Laurie gave me a feeling of peace and contentment—we are connected again.
As wonderful as modern technology is, I am sure as time goes on we will be amazed over and over again at the new and even greater strides we will make in communications in the future. What will we take for granted next? I can already play games interactively with my grandchildren on Skype. Will we someday be able to play as little holographic figures sitting down at a table together à la Star Wars? Recent advancements in 3D imaging and scanning technologies are making that a real possibility. Current methods of high speed scanning make it possible to get a 3D scan of your face in a fraction of a second. In the future, projecting yourself or a room full of people to another location may be commonplace. Hmm…I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s bad enough getting caught on Skype in my pajamas, no make-up and hair uncombed. Talking with video has its drawbacks.
Yes, modern communications and whatever marvels the future holds in that field are awe-inspiring, yet they are miniscule—not even a blip on the radar—to the communication we can personally have with the God of the universe! It was a wonder when we could finally go wireless and be connected wherever we go. It’s been that way from the beginning with God. We are excited by evermore beautiful, clear pictures and sound as technology improves. When our relationship with Him is right and we are listening, we can clearly hear that still, small voice and see His hand at work. And we never have to ask of Him, “Can you hear me now?” The Lord hears when we call out to Him. He hears our pleas for forgiveness, our cries for help, the desires of our hearts even when we do not speak them aloud.
It is called prayer, and the only thing that can interfere with that communication with Him is our own lack of interest, our laziness, and our failure to realize the importance and the privilege that prayer is. There is no equipment to worry about, no service company necessary, and no fees to pay. Communication with us is so important to the Lord, in fact, that He tells us to:
“Pray without ceasing…” (I Thessalonians 5:17)
“Seek His face continually…” (Psalm 105:4)
“…continue steadfastly in prayer” (Romans12:12)
“…come boldly unto the throne of grace…” (Hebrews 4:16)
“[…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving] let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Pray continually, steadfastly, without ceasing, boldly, about everything.
I love being connected with my children and grandchildren. I eagerly look forward to their phone calls, and treasure the times we can Skype (even if I am in my pajamas!) May we be just as eager, just as committed to the communication with our Heavenly Father that is available to us anytime, anywhere. What a privilege and gift it is to us!