Today I am thankful for a very practical piece of equipment that can be found in every common household.
I am thankful that Mr. Alexander Graham Bell came up with this very handy invention. And not only that, I am thankful for answering machines. Not just any ordinary answering machine -- but the invisible answering machine you can get with some phone companies.
For those of you who may not be familiar with such an answering machine, it is one where you have the ability to send messages to a person's phone without having to actually ring their line. Not only is it convenient (if you got home too late to return someone's call, you can just send them a message without having to disturb them if they may be already sleeping), but for me it has served as a great tool for keeping in touch with a dear friend.
This dear friend may only live 15 minutes away, but for the past decade (and then some) her and I have communicated this way on an almost daily basis. Here's how it works: When one of us gets up in the morning, we leave a message (or two, or three...or eight!) on the other person's phone. About all sorts of things -- the rough night we had up with a sick child, the items on our agenda for the day, a situation that we need to vent about...you name it. Then the other person listens to the messages and sends out messages of her own in reply.
We have giggled together this way, cried together, prayed together and just talked about the day-to-day tasks of being a mom. From our list of cleaning chores we hope to accomplish to the struggles with potty-training, or a kid's adjustment to school. To what the scale revealed to us in the morning to date night plans for the coming weekend to what we're making for supper. Anything and everything.
So why not just talk on the phone like 'regular' people instead? Well, here's the thing. This way offers us the ability to respond when we have the time. If I am out for the morning, Andrea (yes, we share the same name) can still leave me messages that I can return when I get back home. Or if Andrea is busy with baking or cleaning, I can leave her messages that she can check and respond to when she is taking a break. It doesn't replace 'real' conversations or face-to-face get-togethers, but it does help us bridge the gap in between those times.
It might not make sense to everybody -- or be everyone's cup of tea -- but it works for us. We have strengthened our friendship immensely by this almost daily communication and there is nobody who knows me better than her because of this. In fact, she knows me better than I know myself. It has been our special thing for the past 10 years and I hope to keep it up for the next 10. We may both lead different, busy lives (working part-time, co-ordinating a Mom's group, attending morning bible studies, play-dates, etc.), but taking the time even for a minimum of one quick message wishing the other a blessed day has meant the world to me more times than I can count.
So thank you, Mr. Bell, for your grand invention of the telephone. I am very grateful.