I left the Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center in Duluth on Wednesday, Dec. 13 and intended to work from home for the rest of the week. However, I inadvertently left my cell phone in the building and since I live in Smyrna I decided to have my assistant overnight my phone to me via UPS.
At the time, mailing the phone seemed preferable to unnecessarily risking life and limb by driving the 30+ miles back around the congested interstates between my home and Sugarloaf Parkway where our ministry is located.
The traffic is always a challenge, but the Christmas traffic is particularly formidable. Somehow I never thought UPS could have difficulty getting my cell phone to me the next morning. After all, they pride themselves as “a global leader in logistics, a company offering a broad range of solutions including the transportation of packages.” UPS also claims to be in the problem-solving business, having more than 400,000 “can do” people ready to roll up their sleeves to help us solve our problems.
When I didn’t get my cell phone the next day, I realized it was the busiest time of the year for those in the package delivery business. So, I decided to be lenient and understanding. When I failed to get my cell phone Saturday morning, I began to get slightly frustrated. My effort to track the package containing my phone indicated on Saturday evening that I would get it Monday.
I began to wonder who was trying to call me. Surely, someone wanted to wish me a merry Christmas, invite me to have lunch, or ask me to go kayaking or bungee jumping.
However, on Sunday I didn’t think too much about not having a phone because I had the privilege of teaching Sunday School at Ephesus Baptist Church in Winston, where my wife and I are members and our son-in-law is pastor. The worship experience was inspiring, both morning and evening, and my thoughts were on higher and loftier things than cell phones.
On Monday when the phone didn’t come, I began to reason that maybe that phone was not as important as I had thought. I checked the tracking system, but really was not all that disturbed that it didn’t come on Monday as the system had promised.
I love people and enjoy talking on the phone and texting folks on a regular basis, but scrolling through an endless Twitter feed and searching for some trivial tidbit of information on Wikipedia didn’t seem nearly as important as I had thought.
I also found myself more productive without a cell phone. I still had the capacity to hammer out editorials and articles on my trusty Apple laptop, but I didn’t have to answer a single telemarketer or that dear soul who keeps calling to remind me for the final time that the warranty on my wife’s 2011 Buick Lacrosse has expired. I was able to accomplish more than I had ever imagined. In other words, unwanted distractions were no longer forced upon me.
With my cell phone in some dark hole in the UPS transportation system I was no longer embarrassed by my dumb smart phone ringing in a restaurant or some important meeting.
With the phone safely in the hands of UPS, I did not need to worry about having to maintain the device. It didn’t need to be charged. I didn’t need to make sure it was silenced at the proper time. I didn’t have to add new apps. I didn’t have to worry about placing it in an area where it could get wet or overheated. I didn’t have to remember to keep it away from anything magnetic.
I also found myself actually engaging people in personal conversations. Instead of having my head down looking for the latest news feed or sports score, I had meaningful conversations with Tanisha at the local Publix and the fellow Georgia Bulldawg’s fan at the Post Office. In fact, I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with one dear lady at WalMart who was especially helpful to me.
The Christmas rush that slowed down the delivery system for UPS gave me a reprieve from the busyness of the holiday season.
However, on Tuesday, the phone still had not arrived. I went with my wife to Newnan to see her sister who is in a nursing home and I surely missed checking my cell phone to read the latest articles and commentaries on The Christian Index website. Did you know that more people read The Index on a smart phone than on computers or laptops?
Maybe I’ll get it tomorrow. I guess a week without a cell phone is about all I can handle. I have missed all of you.