“But if one and one will make a million, we will see that world come round…” from a folk song that I remember from the sixties

I am in receipt of an electronic device new to me.  It is called a ‘smart phone’.  For those of you new to the idea, do not get excited.  The phone is not smart; it is, in fact rather stupid.  But it does tasks that I set up for it to do with great alacrity.  It took me many hours to download, programs called ‘apps’.  Then I had to install them and put my information into them.  Next I created folders and passwords to hold information securely, information that no one in their right mind would want to appropriate. Then I added all of those little conveniences that are so inconvenient to load and learn.  After spending hours on this not insignificant project, I went to sleep with a sense of accomplishment.  I who was born into an era devoid of personal computers, cell phones, pagers, tablets and other wonders of this brave new world, had navigated a hand held device with more memory than the Apollo rockets and more complicated than anything that I could have imagined when I was the age of my grandson who takes all of this (and me) for granted. 

In the morning I awoke to the most heart stopping, anxiety provoking and emotionally stressful symbol flashing on my ‘smart phone.’  The stupid thing and not been able to sync properly.  I know enough about the English language not to take my ‘smart phone’ to the sink to encourage it to sync.  Instead, I called my cell phone service provider.  After an interminable wait and even more interminable wading through verbal menus, I finally struck gold and reached a human voice.  It belonged to a man appropriately named Angel.

Angel was pleasant and professional with the understanding and competency for which we dream when making such a call for help.  He spent an enormous amount of time with me, walking me through each step of emptying and restarting and refilling my phone.  He was patient and proficient and took much of the sting out of this daunting project.

During one of the many lulls in the instructions, as we waited for the ‘smart phone’ to accomplish one of the tasks that we had set out for it, I struck up a conversation.  I asked the origin of his name.  He had no idea.  But, he informed me that he has named his own son Angel. Then he added that his son’s middle name is Israel, named for Angel’s brother, who fell serving our country in Afghanistan.  I offered my condolences and wanting in some small way to comfort this man who had been long-sufferingly and sympathetically dealing with my ignorance, I informed him that his son’s name in Hebrew is מלאך ישראל which could mean the spirit messenger of Israel or the spirit messenger to Israel.  This opened the door to a discussion of religion and spirituality.  The man knew so much about the ‘smart phone’ and so little about Judaism.  He asked me many questions and we discussed, during the now acceptable delays as my ‘smart phone’ downloaded, upgraded and installed and generally smartened up, many matters of faith.  When the phone had finished and was now working the way it was supposed to work and I had thanked him, he prepared to hang up.  I interrupted him and suggested that we continue our conversation.  And we did, for a short while before he was called to help some other poor lost soulless ‘smart phone’.  In the end he told me that he that he was going to find a Rabbi who would come to his church and talk about the differences between Christianity and Judaism and maybe teach Hebrew so that he could understand the Jewish Bible a little better.  Maybe he will.

I hung up feeling better about my smart less phone and that I had made human contact and shared a conversation of the spirit. I don’t know if Angel was ‘changed’ by our conversation.  I do know that I was.  Kindness and questions, gentle discussion of differences, learning and growing; it’s not a bad way to spend some time with another human being and it touched my heart.  Thanks Angel for the help with the phone and for the sharing touch of the human spirit.

My grandson has asked me what one person can do to make a change in the world.  I have never had a good answer for him until now.