Last Wednesday, as I was trying to make my old laptop do too many things at once, it froze and then made this horrible clicking sound – like a car without enough oil in the engine. I shut it down, restarted, and got this flashing file folder with a question mark. My hard drive had died.
Now this computer, well, it housed of my life in words. Drafts of my essays and book, copies of assignments and syllabi, Christmas letters, etc. Plus, much of my music and photo collection were on there. I felt – on a tiny scale – like I had lost my “house” in a fire so devastating that I could not save anything.
That feeling lasted about two minutes – and then, inexplicably, I felt fine. Really fine. Somehow all this would work out – all things always work out. . . . I knew this, even as I knew I might have to recreate the entire draft of my book. Somehow all would be well.
Now I don’t want to overdramatize this loss – I wasn’t in a fire, no one I loved died, people who cared for me, a place to live and food to eat – but still, since I just quit my job to write, losing all that writing should have rocked me to my core, yet it didn’t. Somehow, my core was untouched, at peace still. That was my first lesson.
The second was one that God has been trying to teach me for years and that I am still learning – that sometimes I have to rely on other people for things; sometimes I can’t do it on my own. I don’t know where I learned that my foremost goal in my life was not to be a burden to anyone else, but for years, that was how I operated. How could I be most helpful and also most out of the way so that I didn’t bring other people down or cause them trouble?
But here, with a dead hard drive, was a situation I could not solve on my own. I needed help, and help was available. I didn’t even have to ask for it – this kind man that I am dating offered it to me. He called, told me he’d begun to research new laptops, and then offered to help me shop for one. It honestly took all my effort and none of my effort to say that I would accept his help. It seemed both very hard – that crackly part of me that was stubborn and proud and afraid resisted – and very easy – the part of me that wants to connect with people and wants to crush that crackly part won out, and the soft part was rewarded. We shopped; he asked questions (he works with computers and, thus, has much more knowledge than I do), and he translated for me while providing guidance. I felt like I had someone come alongside me as both a partner and a friend. I didn’t feel belittled or stupid; I felt cared for – and that felt amazing. Somehow just trusting that he meant what he said, that he was truly happy to do it, and that he actually wanted to help me – somehow that softened all of me, opened me up, made me more of who I am. It seems like a tiny thing, but it wasn’t.
Then, as I went out of town for the weekend, this man kept my new computer and set it up for me – making it work with both Mac and Windows so that I can do all my jobs require of me. He put pictures of himself on the desktop to make me smile, something I loved, and he did all this work without hesitation or complaint. Here I sit writing on this new machine, and I am so grateful.
Meanwhile, he still has my old hard drive, and he’s going to try to pull data off of it for me. If he gets anything, I’ll consider it a bonus, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. I have learned more from this experience than any of the information on that old machine could teach me. And I feel like, in many more ways than one, I have a fresh start.
All things work together for good . . . . if you let them. Thanks, Dave.