Can We Still Talk in a Texting World?

listeningI wrote a thesis last year for a class at Grand Canyon University. It was at a perfect time in my life, two months into a separation from my husband of 34 years. The topic was whether or not social media and texting can impact a relationship. I had the answer even before I researched scholarly articles from around the world.

The data that I found confirmed my gut feeling. Couples are divorcing at record rates, as a result of re-connecting with old lovers and dreaming of the perfect relationship that probably only exists in their imagination. People text non-stop, and the art of looking at each other across the table discussing hopes and dreams, and fears and worries, is a thing of the past. Just look around any restaurant.  Religion is also in trouble due to this phenomenon as well. How can we talk with God or even listen to Him, if we are busy looking at our phones all day? We have simply forgotten how to talk. We only know how to text.

My own relationship was terribly damaged by the two-cell phone dinners out at restaurants, the searching for interesting articles or news about the elections continued to chip away at our crumbling relationship. Too many texts to other people instead of just looking into each other’s eyes and talking the old-fashioned way, finally was too much to bear. Even during our six-month separation, we rarely talked directly with each other, maybe only 4-5 times. This after talking to each other every day for over half our lives about everything.. a funny story, our health, our money, our vacations, our family….how did it come to this?

Ironically, we finally started talking to each other just weeks before he died. We spoke about serious things like money and who was going to fill the gap that was left when I was no longer in control of his finances. I offered to act as his advisor, just as I had during our entire marriage. I would help him with his IRA distributions, tax return preparations and make sure he never ran out of money. He liked that.

He liked that so much, that we started talking about the future. He was feeling better, his depression had lessened and he was starting to think about joining the world once again. His friends told me that he finally was making plans to golf, to travel to St. Louis to visit with friends, to go back to church and join life and all of its joys and pain once again.

We spoke of dating, of how we were dealing with not having any intimacy in our lives, about the things that people seeking love talk about. There was hope in his voice and a desire I had not heard in years. We talked about sticking our toes in the water and dating…just dating, to see if we still cared for each other. I knew that I did, but did he? I was going to throw the pups in the car and drive to Phoenix and try once again, to re-kindle our relationship.

I was hopeful and scared. Would I be consumed by his depression? Would the darkness smother the light in my soul? I was willing to try. I still loved Will and I do even more now. A piece of paper never changed that, nor did death.  I am not in love with him in an unhealthy way. It does not keep me from living fully. I am in love with Will in a completely new way because his spirit is alive and inside of me. He is with God and they are guiding my life, helping me stumble along the path and helping me get right back up.

God was always with me, but I was not always listening. I was too busy texting Will and asking him why he left me, why did he not love me, what could I do to fix things between us. I was praying for reconciliation with Will and when that did not happen, I was crushed. My faith was pushed aside. God had failed me and I did not understand why. How could He want my divorce to actually happen? Did He not know that I needed Will…that I loved him? I texted even faster and more furious, begging Will to stop the divorce proceedings.  He didn’t listen to me either. This text stuff just wasn’t working.

God does not always answer the prayers in our hearts. He is an almighty Father that knows what His children truly need, just like my dad did when I was a young girl. God knew that Will’s soul was troubled, that he had been abused as a young boy and that his heart was so hurt, that he could not heal it. There was no human being on earth who could bring him the peace and redemption that God could. It was time for Will’s earthly being to pass away, leaving his spirit to be free and without pain. God knew that Will would help me more from Heaven than he ever could from earth. God is ever-knowing, always loving and encouraging. He always pushes me to seek Him, so that I can share His word and His message with the world, just as I am right now.

God is by my side, encouraging me to help others find their purpose in life, to help them seek redemption and to accept the truth about themselves and so that they can heal the holes in their hearts. We all have demons, and our hearts have been broken. But God wants us to live productive and peaceful lives, free of the kind of pain and suffering that ended Will’s life.

God does not always listen to our prayers, because we do not always pray for the right things. We need to be really quiet and listen to God in this crazy non-stop texting world of confusion, loss, and discouragement. We need to start truly listening to each other, reaching out to those who are hurting and need someone to believe in them. We need to turn off our phones and talk to each other….the old-fashioned way we used to do.


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