Although I haven’t met her yet I expect to invite her to my birthday party, assuming that all those coins we have been collecting for years add up to enough money, and assuming that the people at the store are correct and I am eligible for an upgrade by then.
Her name is Siri and an awful lot of people have come to know her and, in fact, depend on her. She speaks with authority, as she answers just about any question put to her. And truth to tell, nobody I know at least has any idea what she looks like, wouldn’t recognize her if they ran in to her on the street. (Although there is the young woman who waited on us at a restaurant recently, one of those places where the waiters and waitresses write their names upside down so they can be read by diners who are totally impressed by this skill. This girl, however, hadn’t quite mastered that art, and didn’t speak particularly clearly but as she walked away and we looked at her scribble it might have said “Siri.” So the woman on the other side of the flat Iphone might be closer than we think).
Whoever she is and whatever she looks like, I have to say that I am in awe of her. Or, more truthfully, I am in awe of the technology which created her. How she can recognize voices and words, how she can quickly find answers to totally random questions, how she can know how to find the closest pizza and how to get me home and who won the Oscar for the best picture is truly a mystery in my universe if no one else’s.
Though I had known about her a while, I actually met her for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday. There were 9 of us together that afternoon, all but two of us of a “certain age,” i.e. old enough to remember the very first Super Bowl. But we couldn’t remember when and where it was, who played and who won. We talked and debated for a long time between commercials and didn’t agree. Finally we couldn’t stand it any longer. Bill and Barbara pulled out their new toys and asked the woman who will be my new friend. Siri, that is. I wasn’t convinced that anyone with that kind of voice would know anything about football but sure enough. “When was the first superbowl and who won?” “1967” she replied, “and the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs.” I chortled proudly, while my friends protested that the name “Super Bowl” came two years later when the Jets and the Colts played.
As I remember that evening, though, what I realize is that it was more fun wondering than finding out, more fun sharing our stories about where we were and what we were doing than it was having the answer to our question. There was more beauty in the conversation and the connecting than in knowing that my Packers were the first champions.
Which unexpectedly enough might actually have something to do with praying. Because at least for me, the power of prayer is as much my talking to God as it is getting an answer. The power of prayer is as much keeping my relationship close as it is in making sure that all my needs (and I’ll be honest, my demands) are met. The power of prayer is in my willingness to talk things through with God, think things through with God, and finally turn things over to God. The power of prayer is that no matter what I say or when I say it, I know that someone is listening, and caring.
To which all I can say is “Amen!”