Blackberries, iPhones, Love the One You’re With

It’s a thought that keeps occurring, when I send and receive emails, texts, tweets and Facebook wall posts. When I sit across the table from folks for a meeting or a cup of coffee. And sadly, most often when I’m visiting my home country. It’s simply:

The more ways we have to communicate, the worse we are getting at communicating well.


Example. People host email on their phones so they can respond to emails quickly. Great. But sometimes the replies make this recipient feel like someone just wants me off the to-do list ASAP. Often, there are three other questions in my email that don’t get answered via Blackberry, and I have to email again.

At the heart of every message, we communicate because we seek connection. If I remember anything from my freshman Communications classes at Uni, I remember that there’s a sender, there’s a method of transmission, there’s a message, and there’s a recipient. And a lot can go wrong in between.

In face to face conversation, as much as 90% of what we’re communicating is not necessarily said with the words coming out of our mouths. The tone we use to say those words matters. Facial expressions, body language, the loudness or softness of our voice, the gestures we make with our hands and sometimes just the look in our eyes — all these things contribute to what we are saying, without words.

Although the indicators are different, Social Media definitely has its own brand of nonverbal communication.

LOL. :-* OMG! K, thanks, bye.

And again, it is not just what is said, but what is left unsaid. When “Dear ____” or “Sincerely ____” no longer start or finish an email. When we speed type because we’re busy, we want to be more productive, or {a Collie house *dislike*} we are replying to your email from our Blackberry.

The more ways we have to communicate, the worse we are getting at communicating well.

A Tale of Two Meetings

On this last visit home, it seemed like a fourth member of the party without a chair often joined us at the table. Mrs. Blackberry or Mr. iPhone, who wouldn’t be ordering off the menu or picking up the check, might still cut us off mid-sentence or make it difficult to carry on a steady conversation. And what isn’t said — the unintended message — is what I really hear: You are pretty important, but I want to keep my options open in case something more important comes along.

We recently went to a meeting that was very important to us. The other party also said it was important, but sat down and immediately sat the Blackberry on the table. With each grumbly vibration, a call was screened, and I felt my personal self worth being weighed in the balance. Is this meeting more or less important than taking this call? I’ll press ignore.

{Conversation continues…}

Another vibration. Is this conversation more or less important than this call?

{Conversation pauses for a decision to be made.} Ignore.

Next vibration: Is this conversation more important than this call? No. We’re asked to wait for the call to be taken.

Afterwards, the Hubs mentioned that he’d considered leaving the room and calling the person we were meeting with to see if we could chat over the phone and perhaps get more accomplished.

The alternative: There’s a wonderful pastor we sometimes visit while we’re back in the Carolinas who has the uncanny ability to meet with you and, start to finish, seem completely undistracted. For the hour we’re in his office, it feels like nothing in the world is going to take his focus off the time with us. He looks you in the eyes, listens with all his being, and is slow to form a response. I leave feeling valued and wanting to remember to show the same kindness to others. {I can’t say I’ve acquired the skill yet.}

I’m aware that life has emergencies. We’re waiting on a call because our wife could go into labour any time. Our Mom is in surgery. We’re waiting to hear the results…it could be cancer.

In these cases, we can be kind enough to explain to the person sitting in front of us the reason why we might ‘divert’ our real life conversation for the sake of a phone call that could go to voicemail instead. But should we screen every call as if we’re constantly expecting an emergency?

I’m not recommending we go back to the days when long distance communication only happened with a telephone wired to the wall or with paper, pen and a postage stamp. I do want us to think about what we’re communicating through new mediums of technology, based on what we say, and what we don’t.

Could we be missing the boat if we place higher value on the phone on the table than the real live person sitting across from us? {I am guilty of burying myself in my Macbook, so I’m speaking to me, too.}

At the heart of it all, we Facebook and tweet, we blog and email, we call and write, and we meet for coffee or dinner because we want to know that we matter. We want to know our lives matter. We want to know somebody thinks we’re worth paying attention to. The sending and receiving of messages is about connection.

I recently read a letter from a friend to a friend and these words struck me:

Thank you for smiling at me every time I walk in the door. Thank you for talking to me like I am the most important person to you at that moment.

That’s the stuff that matters.

My prayer in a nutshell: Jesus, You were incredibly focused on loving the person in front of you. Lord, help us, in every way that we communicate, to be better at loving and valuing each other. Let our messages to one another communicate You’re important and You matter more than anything else, because everyone matters to You.


In the Moment

There is a special magic in the every day that I try to make it a point to grab hold of and savour. Do you ever want to take photographs with your mind and hold on to moments as they slip through your fingers?
The sunshine hits a tree just so that it springs to life for the briefest of moments from where you are standing, and you know that no one else in the world has seen or will see exactly what you’re seeing right now.

Your little boy is playing with his Daddy upstairs and you hear giggles and squeals and mushytoddlerspeak that will sound completely different six months from now.

A little boy with a chocolate mustache and a huge ice cream cone comes out of the ice cream shop. His big single scoop slides off the cone and lands on the ground. He quickly swoops it up, slaps it back on and digs in. (more…)

Sometimes it’s best


after passing back one more piece of candy, one more book, one more toy, shushing someone else’s discomfort, your own tired soul, and eyes that have stared out the window at some of the most beautiful mountain passes you’ve ever seen though you’re too tired even to say so…

deep thoughts passed with meadows rough and green

gobbling at ostriches to create entertainment {I’ve a proper gobble, don’t ya know}

singing new songs about the aloe plants we pass

twelve hours on the road

and one more piece of candy, surely, and then we’ll be home.

Sometimes it’s best

when every bit of you feels tired

and rest is the thing that you need more than any

and the Good Word hasn’t been in front of your eyes the way you need it to be

replaced with grocery lists and overdue emails and the dishwasher you forgot to turn on and the laundry that wasn’t conquered before you left

it’s good in those times just to hush in your soul

and let fingers rest further away from the keys

so eyes can linger on Good Words and then shut

in hopes of opening brighter tomorrow.

With heartfuls to say at the end of long days,

being still, hushing up, waiting for the refill,

sometimes it’s best.


*No Bears were harmed in the taking of that photo.


I lay in bed awake last night,


This Jesus who changed the world

and changed my world

He never did get too comfortable.

And those twelve guys who followed Him around…

one boy’s lunch feeding thousands, get up and walk…

They saw.

Storm calming, magic fishing, water to wine, a meal feeding the masses again.

And it seemed that just when they thought they had this Jesus figured out, there was

water walking, wild preaching, cheek-turning, two-mile going, upside-down words of Life.

And then there was

Lame standing, blind seeing, deaf hearing, mute speaking, table-turning

Dead, Alive again.

Eat My flesh and drink My blood.

I Am leaving but that’s good.

And it seems like no matter how hard they tried, they never could get


with Jesus.

So I lay in bed awake last night,


And I wondered why this itchy faith.

This soul-stretching heart-wrenching hope-building way of living

Should come as a surprise to me.

He was and He did.

He is and He does.

But Comfortable.

And Jesus.

That just won’t do.

I think.

–Caroline Collie

Sunday Morning Prayer

Hi Guys and Gals! I usually keep this space quiet on Sundays in hopes that you’ll turn your attentions elsewhere, but I just wanted to send a quick prayer request your way on this lovely Sunday morning. Hero Hubs took off for Zimbabwe bright and early this morning, and he’ll be there for the next five days. Samaritan’s Feet South Africa has sent 5,000 pairs of shoes to Zim which will be distributed in celebration of the International Day of Peace September 21st.

We are imagining the beauty of former enemies washing each other’s feet. We’re envisioning people being blessed with a message of hope in a country that has long been troubled with violence and injustice. We pray this will be a day without violence, a moment which will focus a nation on reconciliation and restoration. We pray that the Name of Jesus will be lifted up and given glory.

I spent time with the Lord after Hero Hubs left early this morning, and He met me with great peace. Though I’ve been nervous about HH being in Zim, and the Bear and I here on our own, He reminded me that if He can keep His children safe in a fiery furnace or a lion’s den, I don’t need to fear for HH during his travels, or the Bear and I, here in a high-security neighbourhood. Nevertheless, I’d like to ask you to pray for Hero Hubs and all that is coming together in Zimbabwe (along with the Samaritan’s Feet ambassadors visiting from the US) and for the Bear and I, here without him.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.”

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” 
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. (Daniel 3: 24-27)

Isn’t it amazing that they didn’t even smell like fire?

God is always with us. And I am always glad about that.



I wrote this a few weeks ago when things were quite busy…but I was a little too busy to remember to post it. Enjoy! xCC

There are moments in life, to which you might relate,
where it seems as if you’ve got one too many plate
you spin, one burden too many to carry,
with weight, one path too many to walk.

And finding myself in those heavy moments, where all seems
blurry and messy, where there seem to be too many things to do
for me to know where to start,
I recognise a simple pattern, pointing right back to my heart.

For knowing this, what I’ll say now,
I wonder why it seems
I trudge along in muddy waters
instead of cleansing streams.

There’s this peace I find — this peace divine —
when I take time to be still.
I stay my mind upon the Vine
whether all is well or ill.

Prone to wander, my poor heart,
distracted by the day,
loses peace at rapid speeds
and edges start to fray.

But turn again to that sweet sound
the Voice I ought to know
and in His Word, He guides me still:
this is the way to go.

Though wander I, for day or week,
through seasons with weary soul,
if I return to that good Vine,
My Shepherd makes me whole.

–Caroline Collie