February 23, 2024
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  • 5:05 pm A class act is what she is

I’ve just had another cell phone stolen.

It’s not really a big deal; it happens at least once a day. I think the thief who keeps stealing it is one guy working alone. I have no idea why he is so persistent and why he bears me such ill will.

To be accurate, the miscreant is not actually a thief; he’s more of a prankster. Yes, he does take my cell phone, but he just hides it, moves it, buries it, and seems to take pleasure in wasting my time and driving me nuts as I try to find it. Every day. Sometimes twice. Villain! Thief or not.

I’ve thought about having the phone finger-printed. (I’ve just been watching NCIS.) But you already know whose prints they’d find, don’t you? Only mine.

So, humiliated, I confess. Yes, I lose it myself. Repeatedly.

My wife says I need to use my head and be less absent-minded. I maintain that it’s because my head is present and very much in use that I seem absent-minded.

Over-thinking this, I’ve wondered if maybe it’s a passive-aggressive thing. Perhaps my subconscious mind resents an instrument that can reel me in at any moment. It rings, and I behave like Pavlov’s famous dog. Oh, the irony! If this hypothesis is correct, I lose the phone to assert my control over it. Then I search, which sort of sounds like being a bit out of control, doesn’t it?

The hypothesis is overly complicated. I lose my keys, too, and I have no dicey relationship with them. So maybe the “absent-mindedness” thing is all that this is about.

I never lose my phone at night. It sits quietly, brain-dead, on its charger in the other room. That it sleeps as far away from me as is possible in our house is purely coincidental, I’m sure.

At night (I’m afraid this could be another control issue), I punch its lights out. I’ve found that I rest better when it is well and truly OFF.

I’ve asked me about that, too, and I think my reasoning is that bad news will be just as bad in the morning, and good news will be just as good. Good news never comes in the middle of the night. As a pastor, I need to be available in an emergency at whatever hour, and I’m certainly willing to be found at need, but anyone who really needs me (along with a million telemarketers)

knows my land line number.

So the phone is safe and secure and quiet at night, tucked in away from me as I’m tucked in myself. Both asleep.

At a decent hour in the morning, I faithfully turn the thing on so as to be able to use it—and to get on with the seemingly obligatory business of losing it yet again.

I confess, the phone would be easier to find if its ringer was turned up. My wife would be happier, too, though I maintain that I do turn it up more than half of the time. I confess again: I could find it more easily if it was never muted. I do have the “Find Me” app, or whatever it’s called, enabled lest it wander off more seriously than usual.

I wonder. If Jesus was speaking to his disciples today, and if he’d just told the parables of the Lost Coin, Lost Sheep, and Lost Son, would he possibly add one about the Lost Cell Phone?

Or would he even get through a parable or two before Peter or John’s cell phone went off and momentarily took center stage? “I’m sorry,” Matthew sheepishly apologizes, “I’ve got to take this.” And Thomas shoots him a look and quietly growls something that might be mistaken for “Idiot!” Andrew reflexively checks for his phone, can’t find it, and wonders if Judas took it.

No, just lost. Misplaced. Andrew finds it near the nets back in the boat.

Cell phones can be nice blessings or harsh masters. And they won’t reach the One we need to be calling a lot more often than we do. But our Father really is in control, really loves us, and is always willing and ready to listen.

No phone required.

Curtis Shelburne, For The Journal


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