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Louisa Ann Irene Ikena shares the story of her adjustment to a new-to-her type of technology.

Recently one of the major cell phone carriers shut down its 3G cellular network. While this probably didn’t rock too many people’s worlds, it did rock mine. I loved my little slide-open-sideways-to-access-the-keyboard cell phone. And, yes, it was on 3G. I loved calling and texting on that phone. I loved keeping my e-mail life completely separate from my cell phone. At one point I even went so far as to say I was “anti-smartphone.” I loved the simplicity of my perfectly capable, little, reliable non-smartphone. I used it for about 14 years.

And then the winds changed. My 3G network was being shut down, and I was faced with a difficult choice. Do I go backward to a flip phone? The company provided me with a flip phone for free. I asked myself if I wanted to text again in that way, needing to hit the 3 key three times in order to type the letter f. The alternative decision seemed excruciating at first. I used language like, “Do I give in to the Dark Side?” Once I had taken such a countercultural stand, how do I take it back?

More importantly, I asked myself, “How do I move forward with integrity and stay true to myself?” Over and over, I got the message from God that I need to invite Him in. I need to invite Him into my process, invite Him into my questions, invite Him into any given moment for He gives us any given moment as a gift. I wrestled with these questions, especially the simplicity question, and I received peace that, no matter what I decided, He would be with me.




The alternative to a flip phone was to upgrade to a smartphone. I consulted with several friends who were very familiar with choices of cell phones out there, and I found further peace. I didn’t have to choose the latest and greatest. I didn’t have to choose the most popular or the most expensive. And I didn’t need to choose the least expensive either. I found a happy medium, and, in February 2022, I purchased and activated my very first smartphone.

The first weeks of owning and using a smartphone were full of revelations for me. It was so new, so novel. I wanted to be on it all the time! It has the potential to be disruptive to a productive routine. However, it also has the potential to save time, since it’s an all-in-one device. Other revelations that I had early on were, “Wow! Now I get it. No wonder so many people in our world cannot spell and cannot use correct grammar!”

And I also had the revelation that, “No wonder so many people in our society have a short attention span!” I just couldn’t get over the fact that in texting on my new phone, it is so much easier to send a picture or an emoji than to formulate and send words. With my old non-smartphone, emojis were not an option to send, and when someone sent me an emoji, it came across as a plain, non-descriptive rectangle. I played a game with a few friends trying to guess which emoji they sent based on the text conversation. But those were purely blind guesses until I owned a smartphone.


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Let’s continue to invite God in and not forget important virtues that include charity and simplicity. #catholicmom


As of the writing of this article, I’ve had months under my belt of owning my first smartphone. The adjustments I’ve needed to make in my life can safely be labeled “First World problems.” I do not, as I feared, feel like I’ve given into the Dark Side, so to speak, or anything innately sinful. I am, however, challenged to find balance. Social media, in particular, sucks my attention into its vortex and does not relinquish its victims easily. I’m attempting to implement time boundaries and accountability of the use of my time.

It’s my hope that by reading a fresh story about smartphones, you might reflect anew about your experience with them. Let’s continue to invite God in and not forget important virtues that include charity and simplicity.



Copyright 2022 Louisa Ann Irene Ikena
Images: (top, bottom) Canva; (center) copyright 2022 Louisa Ann Irene Ikena, all rights reserved.