The ability to communicate is one of those gifts I tend to take for granted. To keep in touch with friends and family near or far makes life richer and more interesting. Internet access allows me to receive information and to exchange views with people thousands of miles away.
Yet I forget that all this is not a foregone conclusion. Communication processes, whether by picking up a pen and writing words on paper or tapping buttons on a keyboard, are complicated. Everything along the way must work right and in order, whether it’s my physical processes beginning with my brain that tells my nerves and muscles what to do, or electrical connections all along the line, from my computer to the outside world.
That’s what I take for granted, and I need to remind myself not to.
The ability to communicate with words is part of what separates human beings from animals. The loss of that ability, due to disease or accidents, can quickly demoralize people since they can no longer connect with other people. A cousin of mine was afflicted with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). When she could no longer speak, she learned to use a machine which allowed her to communicate. When the muscle and nerve strength in her hands and fingers was gone, she lost that precious ability to communicate. I think that was when she gave up. Not long after, she died.
Today, amidst all the discord in the world, true communication is more important, and threatened, than ever. To me, the word “communication” carries with it a notion of one person reaching out to relate in a respectful way to another person or group of people. If you can’t see eye to eye, you can agree to disagree–no harm done, respecting the right of the other person to have his or her own opinion. When done this way, communication enhances relationships between people, whether in person or online. Communication done in that manner is truly something to be thankful for.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)