A dear and valued member of our family died in New Jersey last week, and for a variety of reasons we were unable to fly from California to join the primary mourners in laying her to rest. The final event of the day was a memorial service held at the home of our cousins, and someone had a great idea. Since we couldn't be there, why not have us on Skype while the service took place?
The arrangements were made, and we sat at our computer waiting for the service to start. Everyone who was there put his or her face in front of the screen on the New Jersey side to say hello. The computer was placed in front of our cousin who was leading the service. We sang along. When it came time for the silent standing prayer, our cousin looked at the screen, frowned, and gestured for us to rise. This service was not a spectator sport; we were participants.
Technology is a double edged sword, but tonight we rode on its better edge. Skype enabled us to feel as if we were a part of something that we really wanted to be part of. It felt good.