Holy electronics, Batman – Deb just got an iPhone!
It’s true. I held out as long as I could, and now, for over a week, I have been joined by ear, eye, and sliding finger to the wireless world in ways I never imagined. I have been able to call my dad in Israel for free, check email from school, and text without sifting through my number pad (I had an old flip phone before). And that’s before adding any snazzy apps like SoundHound or Garage Band.
But the most striking thing about this whole experience has been everyone else’s excitement. Or, rather, the i-xcitement of other iPhone users. It started at the mall, when I went clothes shopping for my little metal friend. It looked so thin and vulnerable in its naked state that I had left it asleep in its box until I could dress it properly. The box was in my hand when I stopped in the food court.
“Is that the 4 or the 4S?” asked the cashier at the kabob stand. “Is this your first one? You’re going to love it. It will change your life.”
“This is great,” chimed the woman at AT&T when I called for help waking up Sleeping Beauty. “I feel like I’m getting my first one all over again.” As she led me through upgrading the software and checking the voicemail – calling me back every 20 minutes until everything was downloaded and synced – we bonded over the magic of technology and all the wonders that await me in the little machine.
“What apps have you gotten?” asks every iFriend in my circle. Then they hunker down to show me their favorites. It’s Christmas morning, every time. And it is, I find, incredibly sweet. Each one is so thrilled with how dramatically his or her life has improved with this one tool, and each seems to be reliving that first flush of discovery vicariously through me.
We love to share, we humans. We share our joy, our sorrow, our discoveries, our jokes, our experience, our everything. At its worst, this urge can be rigid and proselytizing, but evangelism, at its linguistic root, is about spreading good news (the word angel has the same root). So, in this season of gifts and new beginnings, my iPhone has me thinking about the desire to improve our lives, and how that urge can be grown into gifts of spirit. It’s a small step from evangelism to you-vangelism, to noticing the hunger in someone else’s soul and giving them this good news: It can be fed. You deserve to feed it. Better yet, to helping them do just that.
Someone recently asked me about gift certificates for my writing class. He has a friend who really wants to write and can’t afford it. He’s being her angel. A friend in Portland once sent her husband to sculpture camp, feeding a need for stone and beauty. And I have been given gym bags, hula hoops, silks, dance shoes, instructional DVDs, and chalk in support of my more athletic self.
But such spirit gifts don’t need to be costly. A gentle nudge, a timely comment, even forwarding the right newsletter or Groupon all spread the good news, the really good news, that what your heart desires is possible. Take it for a spin.
My new iPhone represents possibility for me. Its magic is to make things easy, so I have more time for what matters.
As we unwrap gifts and a new year, what matters to you? What matters to those you love? And how can you make it feel possible?