(full read at dawnlizjones.wordpress.com) At this writing, I am 54 years old, soon to be 55 in fact—old enough to remember when 55 was the national speed limit on the interstate, yes, indeed! Google was a semi-mathematical term that had lots of zeroes behind it, a mouse was something you would set a trap for, and a text was required reading from a book. You remember…a book, a rectangular collection of paper pages held between two hard or soft covers, generally with a title on the front and a copyright date on the inside, and sometimes you had to lick your index finger to advance to the next page when they would stick together. And they smelled good, too, when you stuck your nose into the center binding—they just had that “bookish” fragrance.
Well, anyway, now I read most of my “books” on a screen, I write most of what I write on a screen, I communicate more frequently on a screen. I wonder if that’s an indication that we, as a society, are “screening” ourselves from real life and from each other. Bad pun, I know, just a thought.
Several years ago, my brother, the Purdue engineer, introduced me to an amazing advance in computer technology called the “flash drive”, yet another compound word that didn’t exist when I was in school. I believe it was over the phone (phone: n– a hand-held device plugged into the wall enabling a person to give and receive audio-only transmission) that he guided me on how to plug it in and pull it up for use. You mean no more floppy discs (those went the way of 8-track tapes, and I won’t even try to define that one…)? So now all my writing is on a flash drive, but unfortunately I had been neglecting to do something called a back-up. This brings me up to date in my missive.
Yesterday, after a small yet significant time of putting some thoughts on, er …paper/screen, I pulled out the desk drawer where I ALWAYS keep my flash drive. Always. I tend not to be like my husband, meticulous in where he keeps his things. In fact, in describing my organizational style, Bob parodies the old saying in that I have places for everything and everything in their places. I have not yet fully conquered this challenge, but since I am still breathing, there is hope.
Usually, I simply need to pull out the drawer and, without even looking in, put my hand in and bring out the flash drive, since it is connected to a lanyard. This time, however, my fingers did not immediately find its prize, so I stood up to look inside, and, incredulously, it was missing. Oh rat! Of course, the realization hit me that much, if not most, of the contents had not been backed up, due to my procrastination.
A quick investigation throughout the house revealed no familiar flash drive. Good grief! I even emptied out the vacuum cleaner in the hopes I had swept it up the day before! I checked the patio where I like to repose and compose at the same time. I did a double-take into the same drawer somewhat irrationally thinking I may have overlooked it. (It also came to mind that I had found the Parmesan cheese dispenser in the microwave the other day, so who knows where I might have put the flash drive!)
Probably the two words that come most to mind from that experience are “neglect” and “test”.
- I felt I had neglected to honor what God had given me. My writing may never be read by another person, never hit the stands or be sold in a store. That is not the point. God does not assess value the way so-called rational mankind does. I felt one time, many years ago, that He told something like this: “If what I say is important to you, write it down.” I think that perhaps that was more than an invitation. We are to do whatever the thing in front of us is being revealed for us to do. The outcome is in God’s hands, and is frequently not what we had anticipated anyway. God does not call us to the world’s definition of success, but to His, which is faithfulness. I had not been faithful with what I had been given. Then I wonder what other things we so easily neglect, things given for which we literally show contempt to God for these great and useful gifts—of friendship, family, health, time, and all the other resources which are readily taken for granted and/or misused for our own purposes. OUCH.
- I was in the midst of a test—how was I going to respond to this disappointment, not only of losing what was so valuable to me, but also to my own fallibility? And sometimes the latter is more difficult than the former. Repentance was first. Repentance is ALWAYS first. It’s one of those “don’t leave home without it” activities. In fact, I would go so far as to say that repentance is actually one of the most important gifts of God that we neglect—it takes humility and change, neither of which necessarily come cheap. Secondly, I was being asked to trust. God knew this was going to happen (He always does….) and the outcome was in His most capable hand. This is where the rubber of Romans 8:28 hits my personal road.
I’m happy to report that it wasn’t long after that, only maybe half an hour, that the thought came to me from “somewhere” (yeah, right) that I had been wearing a coat that morning when I was writing outside. I have a real habit of leaving important items in my coat pockets. And sure enough, there was my flash drive on its lanyard, along with some other important hand-written notes (yes, written, with an old-fashioned implement called a pen, on white stuff made from a tree, called paper) that I hadn’t even noticed was missing yet. Needless to say, in keeping with my repentance, I bought a new flash drive that day and backed everything up.
Admittedly, it took longer than for a Purdue engineer, but I eventually got it figured out