How Technology Surprised Me On The Road To Damascus

Who Needs Technology?

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  Sometimes, I sound like the older generation I used to roll my eyes at when I was younger.  

  • “Why do we need so many television channels?”
  • “Why do I get so much junk email?”
  • “Why have we become so tethered to our smart phones when they’re making us so dumb”?

But, then, every once in a while, technology comes through and places a sweet surprise right in my lap.  That’s exactly what happened one day last week.

An Unexpected Text On A Fun Summer Outing

My brother, sister-in-law and niece were visiting us in the mountains of North Carolina.  We decided to go on a bike ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail, about an hour away, just over the Virginia State line.  The bike rental and shuttle shop we used is in a little town called Damascus, so we were literally on the road to Damascus when I got a text message from my son.

That text in itself was a feat of technology.  I was in the Southwest corner of Virginia and he was in Iceland with his wife on their delayed honeymoon.

He texted me to say they were visiting an active volcano in Iceland.  He sent me the link to a live webcam at the volcano and told me to watch for them as they walked by.

Unfortunately, we got into an area with poor reception before I saw them.  When we got into town, our group text indicated that his sister had seen him.  I was so disappointed that I missed it.

A few minutes later, he texted again telling us to watch for them when they came back by on their way out.  So, as we were riding in a van, up a mountain in Virginia, I saw my son and his wife walk by a webcam, in real time, at a volcano in Iceland.  I took a picture as they looked into the camera and waved.

My mind was sufficiently blown.  It’s hard to comprehend how I could see them on a camera when they were a little over 3,000 miles away.  Amazing, simply amazing.

When Technology Comes Through

So, maybe technology isn’t so bad.  It’s kind of nice being able to text my son or daughter to have a conversation when we live hundreds of miles apart from each other.  Maybe getting a tour of my daughter and son-in-law’s new home over FaceTime isn’t such a bad thing.

It wasn’t that many years ago that our main means of communication were telephone calls from landlines or letters delivered by the United States Postal Service.  We rushed to answer the phone to see who it was, no caller ID back then. 

I think about those moms in the past who had to wait weeks or months to get a letter from their sons or daughters.  It puts things in perspective when my own two don’t immediately answer my text messages.

Communicating through texts, phone calls and FaceTime is an important part of the Empty Nest life.  We have so much available to us now.  Whether it’s talking to our child who lives out of state or communicating with them while they’re vacationing halfway around the world, today’s technology is something to be thankful for.  But, it still doesn’t replace a good old visit home.

How about you?  If you’re an empty nester, how do you communicate with your children?  From where is the most unusual place you have communicated with someone?  I’d love to know.


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