What need does the Devil have with a phone? This is the question I came up with in trying to discern the spirituality of my day.
Let me start at the beginning. It was a cold morning (as has been these last couple of days). My big sister and I headed out to town, each of us with separate agendas for the day. It was a lovely walk to the stage – very serene and surprisingly fulfilling considering the muddy paths. On the bus we chatted… Okay, not really. I talked the journey away as my sister listened patiently with occasional exclamations and brief questions that would trigger more mouthfuls.
Everything was perfect until our bus reached it’s destination. Well, not quite. Just close enough. As has become the norm, we were let out (more like forced out), at a lawfully wrong spot. Perhaps to avoid certain external factors unknown to us. What followed was a series of shouts from the conductor that we should hurry and get off at lightning speed. I remember thinking and feeling. Thinking that the man and the voice didn’t match – he was quite tiny, but his voice told a different story. Perhaps one of another life in which his physique was a complete opposite of what I saw. I remember feeling like a rat. I knew I was an adult and believe myself to be unafraid and fearless, but for some reason, I scurried along with the other passengers. Like a rat being lured with cheese. Except in my case, there was no cheese.
It did not end well. As I alighted from the bus, I knocked (hit would be an understatement) my knee on a metal bar whose purpose I still fail to discern. The pain! I couldn’t help but wince. In recognition of the fate that would befall me had I held up the line any longer, I quickly got off and gave way. There I was- in town rubbing my knee, looking through the bus window like a lost child searching for her parents. I checked for my sister who I wished would appear with ice and a milkshake. That sure didn’t happen, but i’m glad I wasn’t alone. I half-limped to my next stage where my sister bid me farewell after ensuring I was whole and safe from metal. 🙂
I took my seat (not a window seat though) and all was well with the world again. As per my norm, I felt in my handbag and retrieved my current read. I read on… but at some point in the journey, I got an ominous feeling. I got very uncomfortable and couldn’t seem to focus. Something was wrong. I texted a close friend, and pocketed my phone in the anticipation of a reply. She did in fact reply and as communication progressed, I kept my phone where I’d feel (was on vibration) her texts come in- my coat pocket.
For a moment, just a moment; I set my book on my lap and looked outside. “Isn’t this your stage?” I asked the man beside me. He was old and kind. Kind because earlier when I requested he open the window, he gave it his all almost breaking a wrist in pursuit of the cause. Conclusion: Window was jammed. He went further to apologize for it. …Where was I? Oh yes. I’d overheard him tell the conductor where he was to get off. He explained that two stages had similar names, and he’d meant the other. Then thanked me for my concern. I responded with a slight nod and kind eyes, then returned to my book.
A while later I felt distracted again and looked out the window. The earth usually calms me but in this case… I don’t know. ‘Why am I so unsettled? Could it be the knee factor?’ I remained in limbo for a while there, then it hit me my phone was too quiet. It’s unlike my friend to delay her messaging. So I felt around in my pocket for the phone. I got startled when I didn’t feel it where I was sure I’d kept it. Unfortunate for me, my memory fails at the most crucial times and so I didn’t know whether the situation warranted panic.
Checking my bag, my face turned pale when Jack (the old man) asked me what the matter was. I fidgeted for a moment before replying in a low and somewhat hoarse voice ‘I think my phone’s been stolen’. At that point he took down my number and called it. In confirmation of my fears, it had been turned off. I searched the floor a couple of times, and other passengers began to ask the matter. I knew what had happened and as my mind raced back, I knew who’d taken it. I was at least half sure.
The previous stage had quite a number of people getting off and one man stood out. He’d lingered by my side a minute too long. I however had dismissed it, as he was paving way for a lady and her child. Or so I thought. Turns out it was a guise. As I thought, life went on for the rest of the world and Jack was alighting. My mind was a complete blurr and I could only hear him in the distance repeatedly apologizing. He seemed to be genuinely pained by what had happened, and I was touched. When he got off, he peeked through a small opening in the window and told me he was sorry. That everything would be okay.
The bus left and I could see him slowly disappear. He’d looked remorseful and it hit me just how visible my feelings must have been. I was frightened, panicked and confused, with no idea how to mask it all. The attention didn’t help, as everybody was on my case about what had just happened. One particularly annoying lady went on about how she could see my phone from where she sat and had wanted to tell me. It sure took her a while.
Lucky enough, they all got off at the next stage, at which point I realized i’d missed mine because of all the drama. For some reason, there were three conductors who all ambushed me with answers to a question I didn’t ask. ‘What next?’ Everyone had something to say. Their own version of the steps I should take. I however did appreciate their efforts at helping. One in particular softened my heart by pumping me with information as he got off the bus. He’d gone through the same thing a day ago and strongly empathized. I appreciated it and though I knew I’d probably gotten not one instruction, it touched my heart.
My journey was quite long. I can hardly explain why, but losing my phone caused me what I thought was too much pain. Perhaps it was because it was my first time? I don’t know. So I kept reminding myself that it was only a gadget. I still had my limbs, I still had a home. All was well. Though I got shocked when I finally (after travelling the world) reached my destination and realized I was limping and in pain. My knee was then swollen and hurt so bad. Suddenly all my efforts at reassuring myself disappeared to thin air. I’m sure I looked like death itself as I limped on, face hung and mind boggled. When I reached the office to which I was heading, I placed a call to my brother, to whom I’d spoken to much earlier.
‘Bro, you won’t believe what just happened…’ Then I went on to tell him what seemed like a folk tale. Or whatever category suits this (forgot that part of my English). When I felt a lump form in my throat, I knew it was time to hung up. It’s just a phone. Get a grip. My inner Dwayne Douglas gave me the internal muscle I needed to soldier on. As I left, I watched the flowers and manicured lawns trying to take in the beauty. It usually gives me serenity, but this time I was less than pleased to find I felt the same. So I began to ask myself why. Why I was feeling like a bruised child. Why it was such a big deal.
Finally, some answers. My mind finally agreed to work right and help me understand what was happening. It was deeper than it looked. It wasn’t a phone – It was moments captured, memories retained, thoughts written and feeling expressed. It wasn’t a person stealing – it was a show of societal disorder and moral degradation. Something so bad done so swift and organized. I’d commend the ‘how’ if the ‘what’ wasn’t so vile. So what was happening to me was the acceptance of problems. Both mine and that of society. I mourned for all that i’d lost and what society was becoming. What made things worse is that I knew it was a cycle. There is always a sick child who needs medicine, a home that will sleep hungry… many things. Many ‘reasons’ to steal. People feel they have no choice. Or maybe they are just greedy. Whatever the case, it made me sad. Yes, it did.
Far worse things happen. Whatever the form, the brute and cruelty with which society sometimes presents itself is …overwhelming. Nothing quite prepares you for it. So here I am, thinking about my day and it’s spiritual meaning. What is God trying to show me? What is His voice saying?
…till next time.