No Service

cell phone bars

I love to see my iPad display read no service. As cell phones first came into existence we had to deal with the first generation of “mobile” phones. The term cellular was not used at the time. In the early days of mobile phones you had to carry the equivalent of a boom box or ghetto blaster on your shoulder. They were 2 pieces, you had the hand set which was attached to the base phone via a cord.  This electrical cord transferred electricity and information to the handset… and they were heavy.  About the only time you saw them was in a high-end luxury car or on the job site being used by the foreman, to guarantee the construction of a building would be completed on schedule.

The next generation were all in one phone. Still huge. Still heavy. Grandma couldn’t even lift one. Eventually we got to the smaller size of today’s phones. Throughout this time there was always the challenge of receiving adequate service. With a poor connection or low signal came the jokes, “Can you hear me now?”  If you were on an important business call, a dropped call or garbled communication could be frustrating at best and disastrous at worst. No one wants to lose business because of poor communication.

Eventually the signal became so strong and widespread that we couldn’t get away from the phones. People are talking on them during a presentation, movie, dinner out, everywhere. We still hear the occasional, “Hello?  Hello?  Can you hear me?” This is usually said at a volume loud enough to wake the dead.

This fact of a strong signal came full circle for me when I started to realize, a few years back that there is no place I could go where I couldn’t get away from my cell phone. Everywhere had service. We drove last year from Las Vegas, Nevada to Wolf Creek, Utah and had an uninterrupted signal the entire drive. (Except driving passed Area 51, which didn’t officially exist until recently, so that doesn’t count).

I remember years ago driving over the Sierra Nevada Mountain range from the east side to Yosemite Valley. On that drive I witnessed and experienced what has become one of the highlights of my life. I looked down to my phone and read the most beautiful words “No Service.” It felt good to know that there were still places within the United States where one could escape the rat race and unplug from society. Now that we are living in Hawaii we see those words more often. They used to be annoying. Now they are the sweet lullaby of a peaceful, uninterrupted day… or maybe even longer.

So my challenge to you, as you read this, is this: Go forth and find a space in your world where you can see those blessed words “No Service.” Be not afraid as you venture there. It may be an unfamiliar space, but it is a safe space. It is between the breathes that we find ourselves.

Aloha from the beautiful Island of Hawai’i,

James Christopher

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