I Don’t Text


Photo by it’s me neosiam from Pexels

In a recent conversation, a friend said, “I don’t text. If I did, I would never hear my children’s voices.”

I understood her sentiment. Texting seems to be the preferred mode of communication of my grown children. I know texting offers benefits that a call does not. Texting tends to lend itself to shorter interactions than phone calls; with the busy lives people lead today, they don’t often have time for long conversations.

Texting is often seen as less intrusive. It can be answered at a person’s leisure whereas a call seems to demand, “Answer me now.”

Another advantage of texting is it gives a written record of information. This is helpful when passing on flight numbers and arrival times, where someone wants to meet for lunch, or the cost of tickets to a suggested event. Perhaps these benefits are why, according to a recent Chicago Tribune article,  people use texting five times more often than they use phone calls.

Of course one of the reasons I like receiving texts from my children is they often send photos and videos with them.  This gives me a running, family history. Scrolling through my phone, I  see the houses my children have bought, the arrival of each of my grandchildren, the first steps those babies took, hikes they have recently taken through the woods. There’s a record of community and church involvement in the pictures of service projects my grandchildren have done.  I can vicariously participate in piano, trombone, and dance recitals.  And, though I live far away, I get to share in simple moments like the first bike ride or the fun of mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Still, there are things a phone call gives that a text does not. A call involves a real conversation; there is an immediate response to what we’ve asked or said.  A call provides us with the tone of voice, which lets us better interpret the meaning of the interaction. Without it, we may have to guess what was meant. Take the simple word, “Yeh.” Depending on the inflection it might be a question or an enthusiastic yes. It could be a sarcastic comment or a way of saying that’s a great idea.

With a phone call, emotions come through. Emoticons may give us the general feeling but sending a smiley face when my friend tells me about the latest book she bought is not the same as the happiness that comes through when celebrating with a dad calling to say the newest baby has arrived. An emoticon just cannot communicate that joy.

The Bell Telephone slogan from years ago expressed precisely what my friend was feeling – “Oh, it’s so good to hear your voice.”

I think that’s how God feels too. Though I know He appreciates the quick prayers I shoot up as I go about my day – he longs for more. Like any parent, The Father likes a long, heart to heart conversation. In fact, I think I hear Him calling now.