Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A New Cell Phone

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” ~ C.S. Lewis

A few days ago I dropped my cell phone as I searched for keys on my way to my car. Though it has fallen several times and I’ve always been able to put it back together with no problem – and never mind the fact this time it actually fell on a soft carpet of grass – it was dead on collision.

I went home and called the phone company to file an insurance claim. I asked the lady on the phone if I would have any trouble retrieving my contact numbers, and she assured me that since I was going to use the same SIM card, all the information stored in it would be transferred to the new phone. The new phone arrived two days later. I diligently followed all instructions and put the old card into the phone, but when I went to look for contacts to import, the SIM card was empty! So I called the phone company again, and we tried a few more tricks, but nothing worked. The joke I had uttered for years, when I said that if I lost my phone I wouldn’t call anyone anymore, didn’t seem all that funny now; while I had other means of contacting some of the people whose phone numbers were lost, I had no idea how to get in touch with some of the others.

While I pouted about that, I thought about some of the contacts I had lost – I hadn’t talked to some of those people for years, either because we had, willingly or unwillingly, parted ways, or because our lives had simply taken different directions. I still could get in touch with those I have reasons to have in my world, either via e-mail or through common friends, so what had I lost? I was suddenly hit with the realization that old, worn-out connections had moved out of the way to make room for new ones: I now have a nice, empty address book I can fill with new friends entering my life.

While holding on to things and relationships that no longer serve us is a downfall of human nature, it is best, every so often, to let the ghosts of the past finally rest in peace. I was talking to a friend, just yesterday, and we were discussing how some of his writings have gone lost; some of the material was quite heart-felt and written during a particularly painful time in his life, but even if parts of it were pleasant and touching, the strained energy of those challenging moments was also trapped between the lines; by losing the documents, he didn’t lose his ability to write anew, but only the painful reminder that the past is called past for a reason. Resistance to change is awfully common, but it surely doesn’t help us grow. In fact, our conservative, self-preserving nature is probably the most hindering factor in our transition from one chapter of life to the next. Stagnation comes masked as familiarity, and who’s ready and willing to throw out those old slippers even if they no longer feel and look right?

Once all is said and done, we can’t lose something or someone we are meant to have in our world; all we are losing is superficial attachments to debris. Who would have known that I had to break my phone to assimilate something so simple?