I must admit that communication is an essential part of my life today. The longer I live, the more sophisticated those communications become, and it’s challenging to me.
Recently, I was working on my latest book using my latest computer and its programs. As I was working, I remembered that I did not always use a computer for writing. I used one of those archaic machines called the "typewriter." Does anybody today know what a typewriter is?
I still remember my first typewriter. My mother got it for me for Christmas one year and I couldn't have been happier with any Christmas gift than that one.
I hammered out many articles and even poems. I wished I had copies of those, but I'm glad I lost them. I'm sure those were the worst poems ever hammered out on a typewriter.
I got an electric typewriter after graduating from high school and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I've never been able to type faster than on that electric typewriter.
The problem I've had with those typewriters was, if I made a mistake, I had to throw out that page and start all over again,. Yes, I had carbon copies, but I still had to start all over again. How frustrating that was in many regards.
While I was writing my first book, I thought maybe I should up grade to a computer. I had to think long and hard about that because I loved my typewriter. Eventually, I succumbed to the times and bought a computer.
Those first computers did not have any internal hard drives and everything had to be done on a 5.5-inch floppy disk. When I got my computer and learned how to use it, I was ecstatic. I didn't mind putting in the floppy disk and taking it out and replacing it with another floppy disk. That seemed to be easy work at the time. I never had to throw away a sheet of paper and start over again.
Over the years, I kept climbing the ladder of technology and got the latest computer technology and was quite happy with it.
Now I can sit in front of my computer screen and dictate what I'm writing. There's a keyboard there, and I only use it when I have an emergency. But now, I can talk everything into my computer, which has become a great experience for me.
When I first used this dictating program, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was in the other room listening. Finally, she said, "Who are you talking to? There's no phone in your room."
It took a while to explain to her that I was talking to my computer while writing an article. She never heard of that before, and I never did either. Finally, I was able to convince her that it was the computer I was talking to. Who else would listen to me?
Things have developed over the years that are beyond my imagination. In our home, we have the latest media service, TV, telephone, and Internet service.
I never knew how much I appreciated all of this service until one day this week.
I had just finished my latest book manuscript and was ready to email it to my publisher. My deadline was crunching down, and I used every minute to work on the book. I finally finished it, got to my deadline, and was now ready to email it.
Nothing is more satisfying than getting the project done and sending it to the publisher. As I set it up to email it, I suddenly realized that everything was down. So I could not send my manuscript out.
Just a half-hour before this, everything was closed: the TV, cell phone, and the Internet. So there is no way I could get this out on time.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage called the company and finally got through and was told it would be up and running by 7 p.m.
I can’t explain how frustrated I was. I checked my temper, and it was boiling over with heat. Probably there was some steam coming out of my ears. I wanted to give them a piece of my mind, but there was no way I could get it to them. Everything was down.
It was then that I realized how important all of this modern technology is. I didn't know that I had built my life on technology, but, it seems like I have done just that.
Technology is wonderful when it works. When it doesn't work, it is the most annoying thing in the world.
I began thinking about the days when communication was done with smoke signals. I'm not sure how that worked, but they were able to convey their message across the country with smoke signals from one mountain to the next. But it got through, which was all that matters.
Maybe we should go back to the good old smoke signal communication days.
I had a few moments to think about this. When thinking about communication a certain verse of Scripture came to my mind.
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).
Sometimes it’s very important to think before you speak and I have discovered if I do think, I sometimes don’t speak.
[Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is www.jamessnyderministries.com.]