Culture At Large

A heavenly first computer

Laura Muresan

As I successfully Google obscurities such as "How to make soap from raccoon fat" or soak up rare video footage of Fritz Wunderlich (my favorite classical singer, dead 50 years), I marvel at the Internet. Submitting to its many charms, I feign productivity, wishing I inclined as naturally to stewardship of hours and minutes as I do to dollars and cents.

While others debate the relative merits of iPhones versus Androids, I have barely an inkling what they do. A Blackberry, to me, ripens mid-June, along a forest's southern faces, waiting to be plucked into my upcycled tin bucket. Among the rapidly dwindling 10 percent of Americans lacking a mobile phone, I cling to a bare-bones AT&T landline. Call me and - without the benefit of voicemail or call waiting - you may hear an anachronistic busy signal or endless ringing. I resisted home Internet access until my online business, Laura's Last Ditch, outgrew the public library's computer lab.

My Grandma, too, resisted the digital age. On Thanksgiving Day, she scarcely noticed the oversized computer monitor atop her vintage metal desk (Grandma's parties are BYOT, with 'T' signifying Technology). My mom, well aware of Grandma's technophobic tendencies, lured her into the office, ostensibly to see my blog. She spurned the computer, though, until a mere touch to the prominently placed 'plus' icon enlarged the print to a manageable size. No ordinary machine, the AARP magazine advertised this WOW! computer for seniors new to Web navigation. Realizing it belonged to her - a surprise gift - my Grandma said, "I'm just not sure about this. I try to be a good steward of my time."

Nevertheless, the family gathered, sharing favorite YouTube videos: Susan Boyle's stunning TV debut; Danny Macaskill's acrobatic bike stunts, Paul Potts singing opera. We Googled Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a malady afflicting an honorary grandchild. Growing interested, yet not fully convinced, we signed her up for Facebook. She beheld endearing photos of great-grandchildren in fleeting stages of babyhood and clips of a just-celebrated Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws' - a virtual family reunion. Won over, my Grandmother exclaimed, "Wow! So this is what I've been missing!"

While pondering the Internet's magnificence, I consider how, some day, when we see Heaven, we likewise will exclaim, "So this is what we've been missing!" We will see not only the dearly departed, but our Savior, Jesus Christ - no longer through a glass, darkly, but face to face. (Take that, Facebook!)

Though I enjoy the Internet, perhaps a little too much, I recall my wise Grandmother's admonition about stewardship of time, knowing I must answer to the same Jesus for how I've spent mine. I resolve to do better, yet fail miserably. Thank God, the same Jesus, who could condemn us, owns a love more personal than Facebook, wiser than Wikipedia and vaster than Google.


(Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.)

Topics: Culture At Large, Science & Technology, Technology