At the end of April this year we found that our telephone connection ‘disappeared’.
The actual line was still there but our line had been taken over by another company and our number had gone. We hadn’t asked for this to happen.
Somehow our line had been disconnected at the exchange and replaced with another line that someone else in the village had ordered.
It took us a long time to try and figure out what had happened and many heated and frustrating conversations ensued to try and sort things out.
To cut a long story short, it took five weeks to get our old number back. During this time, we had intermittent telephone and internet services and often we had no service at all. The problems were compounded because the mobile signal in Hinderwell is not the best unless you stand on the roof on one leg and point your phone north!
A lot of people commented that it must be quite good to have no communication with the outside world. I can’t say I agree with that. Firstly, I was worrying about who couldn’t contact me and secondly I realised just how much I rely on the phone and the internet in particular to keep in contact with people and generally organise my life.
There are so many things now that require access to the internet and that can’t be completed any other way. So far from being a restful time it was fraught with worry and frustration. It was, therefore, a great relief after five long weeks to have our old number back and be fully connected to the outside world once again.
Being isolated and unable to make connections is frustrating and can lead to worry and introspection especially if the isolation is enforced by someone else be they an individual or company.
In my article for the Whitby Gazette in February as the EU Referendum campaigning was beginning I urged us in the months ahead to ponder the arguments on both sides to remain or leave Europe and for us to consider being bridge builders rather than wall builders and to seek dialogue and friendship with other nations.
Next week we will be asked to participate in making one of the most momentous decisions for the future of our country and to cast our vote to either remain or stay within the European Union. The Archbishop of York and Bishop of Durham have both commented upon the issues and urged us to remain. All I would say is that in a world that is becoming more fragmented and potentially unstable it is good to be fully connected with friends and neighbours and have a constructive dialogue with them.
The Christian faith seeks to make connections and build dialogue between people, communities and God. It is a path that seeks to make meaningful connections that enable us to explore and ponder the mysteries and wonder of a relationship with God and our place within the great story of life. So maybe as we consider which way to vote we should connect with God and pray for our nation and for Europe. Whatever the outcome next Thursday we will have to live with the consequences for a very long time.