I've been in North Carolina, near the coastline, for weeks now. The night skies above are breathtaking in their beauty, the blackness in exquisite contrast to the innumerable stars that perforate its cover. The moon seems to rise in the night sky quickly, then slows, moving overhead at the pace of a stroll until it picks up speed again at it heads toward the horizon.
Life has been slow and quiet here. Em and I are out for our night walk before entering into sleep. No artificial illumination at night, no sounds but those of insects, the gentle rustle of tall grasses and a near inaudible whistle from the towering thin pines that make this place their home.
This is what life was like, once - life before electronic technology. Internet access here can be sketchy, mobile phone service hit or miss. If there is no satellite dish nearby, there is no television reception.
The local public radio station is one of the few on the radio dial that has international news. This connection links me to the floods in Australia and the tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan, even the escalating violence between the Palestinians and Israelis. Prayer is the other connection to the people and lands visited upon by these disasters.
Prayer is part of human yearning. We long to be part of something bigger than we are, and faith joins us one to another. The expression of compassion through prayer is one form of communication that needs no 'technology'. Our conversation with God of behalf of those who suffer, who have lost so much, who may yet lose much, will never fall on a deaf ear.
Even here, strangely isolated in time and space, I am part of community - and in love for that community, I pray.