My techie son, my new smart phone, new modem, and me

A Christian Science perspective: Why change doesn't have to be frustrating.

When my college-age son hinted that he was due for an upgrade to a smarter phone than he already had, I caved like a doting parent and said, “OK.”

My son, like all those brilliant, techie kids, knows all about the latest technology and excitedly told me what his new phone would do, all the while convincing me that I should upgrade, too. Well, the salesman at the phone store showed me how much savings I could get, and how little effort it would be to buy two new smart phones, complete with all the bells and whistles. My son was excited.

Now I have to admit I’m not very tech savvy, and newness and change sometimes frustrate me. So as I tried to adjust to my new phone, I found myself longing for the old one. It was more comfortable. I knew it better. And it had favorite pictures and texts from the past, which had suddenly been erased on my new phone. I longed for the old – old views, old messages of love, that were now gone. I actually cried on the way home from the phone store.

Within a short time, I found myself drying my tears, sitting up straighter as I drove, and saying to myself, “Hey! What’s going on here?” I started to pray, as I often do when I find myself in any troubling situation, however small.

What came to mind was a hymn from the “Christian Science Hymnal” (Samuel Longfellow, No. 218): “O Life that maketh all things new,/ The blooming earth, the thoughts of men....” “Life,” in this case, is another name for God, good, in our lives. Why was I crying over sentimental messages from my husband or pictures erased? Could those feelings of love and care ever be erased, removed from my consciousness? Besides, the newness of the future, the promise of all good flowing to me and my family, was not suddenly cut off. The hymn ends with this promise:

The freer step, the fuller breath,
The wide horizon’s grander view;
The sense of Life, that knows no death, –
The Life that maketh all things new.

I can see that as each day unfolds, the goodness of God’s care, God’s love for me, is new every morning. It’s not my new technology that will help me, but the deep knowing that God is the newness, strength, and energy of my experience.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, states in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” a book that explains what Jesus taught, “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy” (p. 249). I’m feeling that newness of life and divine energy in my dances with technology these days – not letting the technology intimidate me or frustrate me.

Recently, when the modem for my computer crashed and I had to replace it, hook up the new one, and get my computer to sync with the modem, I overcame the temptation to put my head on my desk and cry in frustration. Instead, I felt that newness of Spirit, God, directing me every step of the way as I negotiated a new modem from the server company, had a representative explain to me how to hook it up, and sat online with another techie as she walked me through the electronic hookup. When I apologized to her that maybe I was taking too much of her time because I was something of a techie preschooler, she responded immediately, “No! You’re doing just fine! You’re doing everything right.” It was like the voice of an angel telling me I was all right. And guess what? Technology can’t intimidate me!

These experiences lead me forward with renewed energy about a lot of things. Each day brings newness, freshness, and promises of blessings for me and my family. The texting opportunities are great – but the communication and freshness with God, always in sync with me, is the best.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.