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We thought we were getting good at zoom at the Irish Chaplaincy: just click on the link and you’re in. Simple!?

So I was completely thrown when we were suddenly being asked for passwords for the Monday 11am meeting that I’d set up the week before, when there didn’t seem to be any mention of passwords (and as if there isn’t enough stress, and passwords, in our life already!). There was a frantic flurry of e-mails and phone calls and in the end I sent a new invitation (and confirmed what the password was) and one by one the faces appeared on the screen, to my huge relief. And there’s always a palpable sense of joy, during this time of Lockdown, when we see each other and have the chance to connect.

Having survived the little password drama I thought I would finally attempt to set up a Youtube live stream, for the broadcasting of mini-concerts into care homes, and other things. I’d watched a couple of Youtube videos about it and thought ‘come on, you can do it!’ I successfully downloaded the required OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and found and entered the relevant password (honestly, they will be the death of me!), and was encouraged when my face appeared on the screen and I could (or so I believed) start broadcasting. But I couldn’t for the life of me connect it up properly with my Youtube channel. I toiled and stressed through lunch-time and had to admit defeat in the end as I had a 2pm zoom (for which I’d made sure I’d sent the password!). The problem was, because of my face now being on the OBS screen (even when I thought I’d closed it!) it wasn’t appearing on the Zoom screen! More stress! Thankfully my daughter is at home at the moment and she sorted out the issue. Another panic over…until the next one.

Whenever these little technological trials take place, I think of an incident on a bus in Estonia in January 2013. Yim Soon and I had been invited to the country by some lovely Estonian women at L’Arche (how could one say no!), and I’d been instructed to call Leeni when we got on a bus from Tallinn airport to say what time we’d arrive in their city, Tartu, where they would meet us. My phone was a cast-off from one of the children and it was one of those where the keypad slid out. I thought it was pretty cool! Problem was, I couldn’t find the ‘+’ symbol, in order to make an international call. I asked a young man on the bus, “do you speak English?” “Of course” (fluently). “Can you help me with my phone?”. He found the ‘+’ and I called Leeni and it was all OK, and then I said to him “I’m not very good with new technology”. He looked at my phone and said “this is not new technology, this is history”! We ended up having a really nice conversation for the remaining couple of hours of the journey and Yim Soon, meanwhile, was chatting away happily with a young woman on the other side of the bus. The man confided to me that Estonians didn’t normally speak to strangers on buses!

That episode revealed to me a deeper truth which seems especially relevant at the present time. When we lose our usual self-reliance and have to ask for help then people open up to one another and the most incredible things start to happen. We really do need each other, now more than ever.

By the way, if I get my act together with the mini-concerts, I’ve decided that I’m going to use zoom: I’ll be sure to give the password…



Eddie Gilmore

Author Eddie Gilmore

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