Ann Keiffer

The Digital Age

When I was a girl, one of my
classmates suffered a grisly,
wrenching family tragedy.
The truck her father and two
brothers were in was hit by a
train, killing all three instantly.

My classmate was absent from
school for so long it seemed
she might have died, too. I
remember riding the school
bus, staring out the window at
her house, wondering about
her every day as we passed by.
I caught a glimpse of her only
once during that long time.
She was wearing a heavy coat,
carrying trash to the burn-pile.
It didn’t occur to me that I might
call my classmate and talk with
her. Kids didn’t normally call
kids. Phones–and conversations
about death–were for grown-ups.

So I was a little awed when our
grand-daughter did what she
did. Two days after the father
of one of her best friends died,
our grand-daughter entered
into her friend’s grief with her.
They connected quietly, friend-
to-friend, face-to-face via
FaceTime on their phones.

We shake our heads over our
kids’ addiction to their phones,
judging all the texting, e-mail-
ing, and video-chatting a waste
of time, only pseudo- or faux-
relational. Our grand-daughter
is at that digital age, which can
be almost any age at all it now
seems. Phones aren’t just for
grown-ups anymore. Neither
are conversations about death.

Ann Keiffer
April, 2015

Image: Google Search, Alamy


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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