First there was a text message from a friend. Then a brief conversation via Facebook messenger with a colleague for a church related matter. A few minutes later, a brief email exchange with a parishioner. Almost immediately after that, had a phone conversation with a family member. Within the span of 10 minutes, I had communicated in four different ways! 4. Quatre! Quattro! Oh, wait, five, I suppose, because all the while I was engaged in chatting with Lois and Anna (although not while on the phone…) So, in the course of 10 minutes, I had communicated in five different ways! 5! Cinq! Cinque!
What an amazing world we live in. To think that we can keep in touch in so many different ways, immediately letting one another know what we need, or how we’re feeling, or simply passing the time of day. (And, yes, I am equally amazed that I have at least 5 people to talk to…)
Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses. Talking on the phone can be scary to introverts, especially if it’s someone we don’t know very well or it’s a “cold call” to a person we don’t know. But, the immediacy of the conversation and a familiar voice coming through the earpiece can have a wonderful soothing effect when we’re down and need a little boost. The other techniques are better for introverts, as they don’t involve actually talking to people, but they lack the direct contact of talking and listening. Of course, one big advantage over a conversation is that you can take as much time as you need to formulate each comment, question or answer, ensuring that your communication is effective, clear, and maybe even has a certain beauty to it.
Whatever method we choose for a particular conversation isn’t nearly as important as the conversation itself. God did not create us in isolation or to live completely independently. Even introverts need other people. And being made in God’s image means that our communication can be a glimpse into God’s own heart, or perhaps even a direct word from our Creator. While prayer offers us a direct, one-to-one channel to God, God can also use a loving, caring conversation to reach out to us for guidance, to steer us back on course when we veer away, or simply to let us know we are loved.
We have many ways to communicate. Each one can be a gift and a blessing that lets us connect to others; each one can be a gift and a blessing that lets us hear God’s own voice in a loving connection with a fellow child of God.