At least that’s how the past three days have felt  –I am Humpty Dumpty, having fallen into a vortex where I am putting pieces of my life back together again, without the help of all the king’s horses and all the king’s men. Last week I started having computer problems.

I really can’t be more specific, namely because once we go beyond basic computer use, I am so in over my head. I pretend that I’m listening to the kind IT person helping me as they try to explain what is going on. More often it seems to me that they go on and on, using foreign computer words like they are a universal language and assume I am tracking. I nod; but really I am making a to-do list in my head.

On Sunday I was wisely advised to uninstall one program that seemed to be giving another program fits and reboot. It was good solid advice and I promptly uninstalled said program and rebooted.  I input my password and waited for Windows to start-up. The pretty spinning colors came in doing their happy start-up dance. And then the screen went blank. After this happened three times I knew I was up a creek. A bad and lonely creek, full of alligators and nasty snakes. The tears started flowing as the frustration and shock mounted. I do not have time for this.

In this state I wrote a quick and desperate email (on another computer) to some IT people and headed off for church.  I will spare you the blow-by-blow, but in the end I lost everything that wasn’t backed up. At first I didn’t think it was much and I was more than willing to cut my losses. And really, in light of true tragedy, this is minor.  I know. I know. And I keep repeating this message to myself like a mantra: minor, minor. Perspective, perspective.

But then I remember I lost Itunes and all those podcasts I’d downloaded. So I began the slow process of putting that piece back in its place.

And while I have all the emails from the past on my old computer –which is inconveniently in Beijing— I have had to (re)down load the 12,000+ emails I’ve received in the last year.  Hours have now been spent recreating folders and sorting through them. In the middle of the night it hit me I had lost my address book and all the address lists I’d created.  I practiced the spiritual discipline of impulse control and didn’t get up at THAT VERY MINUTE.

The next day I was working on the emails when I remembered I needed to down load Skype and get that running again. This has been how the last two days have been. I’m working on something and then another piece of me falls from the sky. This morning I remembered the pictures I lost. Most are nothing. NOTHING. But that one, oh that one with a former student and my hair looking really good, drat, it’s gone.

The gift and frustration of living in the messy middle is that this experience has not been all bad, nor can I pull and Pollyanna and says it’s all good. Going through my email has been like a year-in-review experience. I’ve searched through to find people to add to my address book and been reminded of so many good people in my life. I’ve also been a bit surprised at the minutia of much of my work emails. Really, parts of work are that pedantic and dull? I guess so. I’ve seen names I haven’t thought of in ages and been reminded of good and bad situations in the last year.

This isn’t how I would have chosen to spend the last week, but being forced to slow down and recreate myself has made me wonder what technology in heaven is going to be like and in what ways it has become like an idol to me. If all technology was taken from me, who would I be? How would I function?  How would you?



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  1. hoehlkathrin December 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Dear Amy, first of all: I am very sorry for all the stress, the loss, and the desparation that quickly makes its way through blank screens to your heart. I don’t have a picture in my head how technology will be in heaven, but I don’t think it really will be needed there- we don’t need any tools any longer. There will be love, and provision, and peace, and awe and Jesus. The creativity, the exact work, the writing, the words that brought life, these will be there, but all the other stuff- virus attacks, gaining power through data, incompatible programs doesn’t have a place there.
    I think, technology belongs to this earth. But I’m sure that Jesus has something to say to blank screens and all the worries they bring. And he knows, that we need Computers and technology here, and how often they have brought connection worldwide- I would never have heard about you without the web. :) His hand is strong enough to bring back the data you need and to help you over the data that can’t. Blessing and strength to you!

  2. Amy December 9, 2011 at 5:01 am - Reply

    Thanks Kathrin! I think you’re right that all of the good parts will remain — the creative and communal aspects without viruses, deception, or wasting time! And, thankfully that one picture I wanted, the HS prompted me to look in my backed up photos — it was there!!! Truly, the rest I don’t give a hoot about. I am thankful today as I work on recreating my address book. Blessing! Amy

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