Friday, August 12, 2011

Small World

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:11-13

The world has certainly gone smaller in a hurry. In this digital age, the world continues to become smaller with just one click of a button. The wonders of the internet continue to amaze me. New models of cellphones and electronic gadgets are sprouting like mushrooms, too fast for me to catch up. The computer world has certainly become one of the most powerful and even the most dangerous part of human life. This is the "Star Wars" age we've only watched in the movies 30 or 40 years ago, and something which we've only tried to imagine before. I've never thought I'd live to see these times. The robotic age has skyrocketed just in the past 10 to 20 years. That's scary fast!

© Copyright, MMD Images, 2011
© Copyright, MMD Images, 2011
© Copyright, MMD Images, 2011
I still remember the very first time we got hooked-up with a telephone set in our house. That was so exciting! To my child's eyes, it was the most modern, high-tech, and intimidating piece of appliance in the house at that time. Even just to make a simple call to the province to speak with my grandmother was such a daunting task that I ended up making just one call and that was it. I'd rather endure the almost 2-hour commute to visit my grandma than pick-up that strange contraption. And the ringer! Oh, how I still remember the shrill, loud bell ring of that telephone. It was more than enough to make my heart skip a beat. And do you still remember the rotary dial? I loved playing with that thing. Not to make a call but just to fit my little fingers into the holes and to hear the swooshing and rapid clicking sound it made. That was pure fun for a child, I tell you.

Then talk about complicated. It was time to call long-distance. Oh boy. I'm not even sure how we managed but we did make a few long distance calls to family and friends around the world. It seemed like there were sets of codes that we had to know to be able to speak with someone on the other line. It was like deciphering a Morse code or some Egyptian hieroglyphics. We had to dial oh-so carefully with the correct pass codes so the call can go through. Worst of all, the lines were static most of the time. And speaking of lines, have you ever experienced having a "party" line on your telephone? Believe me, it was no party. Some friendships and neighborly relations have been ruined by those shared lines.

And to top all these, I later landed a job as a telephone operator two years after college! Though I didn't last long with the job, I think it was a very exciting work. Manning a switchboard as big as a room, with cables and wires sticking out in every which way, was a small feat to tackle everyday. The job had several "stages" to it. First, I did the easier job of answering calls from people who needed help with directory assistance. When I said "easier," I meant I only needed to focus on the blinking lights on the switchboard (which meant people are calling!) and to memorize hundreds of phone numbers from the directory. Easy enough, huh? The next stage was to handle domestic long-distance calls. What's up with these long-distance calls? It seems like it carries with it a "stigma" which is bordering to traumatic. To process a long distance call back then was very complicated stuff. A lot of cables, switching, and more pass codes were involved. But I survived that stage after hours of practice and patience. Next was to process international long-distance calls. That part I wasn't able to train for because I got another job. I was a little sad though to leave that "bustling" workplace.

How about now? I don't even know if there are still telephone operators around? I guess it's one of those "endangered" jobs? One of the easiest thing to do these days is to make a phone call. No matter if it's local, domestic or an international call, all we have to do is push some buttons and voila! No more complicated codes we've got to memorize. Gone are the days of cables and operators. There's even speed-dial now, and we even have "phonebooks" on our cellphones so there's no need to memorize any numbers anymore. You ask me what my number is? Uh wait, let me call myself or check my "phonebook" so I can tell you what it is. Need to call the Philippines? No problem. Just give me the number and we'll dial it right here, right now.

Isn't all these too easy yet complex at the same time? 

"And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." -Psalm 50:15 

"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation." -Psalm 91:14-16
But the irony of having a "smaller" world and a very high-tech environment is the reality of how secluded and lonely people have become. So many have aired their feelings of "aloneness" in this very "connected," online and crowded world. The digital age has come up with new diseases which they call cyber depression and online addiction. These are very real mental and psychological disorders caused by too much time spent on cyberspace, chatting, and building "relationships" with online people of whom you're not even sure how they really look like in person. Too much video games can also be very dangerous. Also, if it's so easy to make a phone call now, why don't we answer much more often? Why do we let the voicemails do most of the "conversing?" And when I want to ask something from a co-worker who is just two cubicles away, I "shoot" her an email instead of taking two steps to go and visit her. What's wrong with this picture?

As with any other wonderful man-made inventions, we need to ask God for His wisdom and guidance to help us not to abuse but to use these things for good. Aren't you glad that the King of the whole universe is not too busy to take your "call?" That we can always rely on His promise that He will deliver us from trouble and all we need to do is call on Him? No cables nor operators required! That's so wonderful for my limited mind to comprehend yet I trust His Word. Cellphones and the internet are great stuff which can help us do wonders in our world today and to make it a little bit easier for all of us but they can also put us in big trouble if we're not too careful. It's great to be computer savvy and to join in the fun of cyberspace communities but please, let's try to be "online" without being out-of-line.


  1. How many jobs have you had? You certainly have gleaned lots of experiences with all the training in different workplaces. That's really neat. Thank you God for never being too busy to take my call.

  2. I've had quite a few. Some of them very exciting indeed. Although I really didn't last long enough in some of them to make it a "career." My longest job was with DHL.


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