We can talk all day about the challenges, setbacks and devastation in many ways that Covid has put before us as a people and in our communities. It has been both a very personal moment to most and a very collective time because of much adversity to seemingly every facet of everyday life. Something as simple as meeting a friend, client or community leader for coffee doesn’t just happen anymore.
Closures, partial closings (a positive employee Covid test), drive-thru and carryout only, mixed with social distancing concerns and two people not being on the same page about meeting in public, change the landscape. A cup of coffee out was fairly easy to make happen. Not so much now.
But while we can focus only on the negative, let me tell you about a new tool reimagined. The telephone! No, I didn’t find out about a new app. No, I’m not streaming a new viewing option. No, not a new game my kids told me I had to have. I’ve realized how good it feels and what can be accomplished by calling someone.
You read that right. A phone call.
Because of our shutdown back in the spring and a recent quarantine, the phone became my friend, my ministry and a dynamic instrument to use for my advantage. If you are over 40 and/or a parent, you have said, “Remember when we used a phone to actually call people and have a conversation.” Yes, it seems like eons ago. But I’ve found the good and the value.
I caught up with leaders. I prayed for people with significant concerns and worries. I got to encourage someone who means something to me. Most people have all called someone and gotten off the phone and been surprised by how long they were on the phone. Hours.
On the flip side, I can get straight to the point and accomplish much in a shorter period of time. Most meetings with one other person, I typically meet for 60-90 minutes. I can sometimes have three to four purposeful conversations in one hour. I have left numerous voice mails where I just prayed for the person. Letting someone simply know you were thinking about them will never be in error.
There are 3D layers with our voice and added humor and empathy that telephones offer that typed communication doesn’t always provide. Praying in person adds power!
If you still need to see who you are talking to, there is Zoom and many other alternatives. I know three women who have built an intimate, fun, powerful sisterhood through Marco Polo during 2020 because of Covid. Another benefit of phones (and Zoom and the like) is you can connect wherever you are. No drive time, appearance/dress don’t matter.
We have seen drive-in movie theaters repurposed and reimagined greatly in 2020 for the purpose of movies, concerts, comedy shows and community events. I encourage you to reflect on the ways you can improve your relational equity by using it for what it was intended for. Talking to people. Voice to voice.
It’s a beautiful, albeit old school thing!