I reread the draft of my column for Transformation and decided it was a good time to take a break. I walked into the kitchen and boiled a cup of edamame before adding it to a bowl of Thai potato soup along with fresh spinach. I turned on the television to watch some college football. My mind continued reflecting on the theme of faith. I realized that something was missing from my article; it was not personal enough and that’s always one of my goals. What could I share about faith from my own life?
After about an hour I decided to read my article again with a renewed sense of purpose. I walked into my office and was surprised to see that the screen was blank. Even more surprising, my computer was off which seemed odd. I rebooted the computer with no response. I tried again and again and again, but no power.
I went from mildly concerned to alarm in five minutes as the ramifications of a dead computer took hold.
It wasn’t just the completion of my article that filled my mind. We were also one week from the Sarasota Bay Water Festival and most of the essential information was parked as files behind the veil of the dark computer screen.
I called my computer consultant, who I’ve known for many years. I used to joke that Eddie was like the cavalry coming to the rescue; anyone that depends on computers can relate. I left a voice mail message for my friend and hoped most of the evening that he was in town for the long weekend instead of camping.
It was getting later in the evening and I realized I would be going to bed without any certainty of the problem or its prospective solution. It was a moment of quiet angst as I considered the implications.
This feeling of angst is often the nursery room for faith; it’s that sense that our circumstances are out of control and that the consequences might swallow us whole like Jonah in the whale.
I would love to tell you how confident I was that everything would be fine, but you know better. I worried about the worst-case scenarios and that included the prospect of getting a reasonable night of sleep. The hardest part was not beating myself up for not making a copy of essential files I needed for the week ahead.
In the moment of despair, I called my son Bryan who was in Clearwater getting ready for a disc golf tournament the following morning. He told me everything would be okay and reminded me that Eddie would fix whatever needed to be fixed. I relished his optimism. It was just enough goodwill to help me fall asleep.
I woke up at dawn and immediately returned to the computer hoping to see that little red light and to hear the familiar sound that’s easy to take for granted. The computer remained stone quiet. I made a cup of coffee and continued working on my list of how to finalize planning for the water festival with the prospect of not having access to various files. The best thing I did is make a list of what was good about the situation. I learned that trick many years ago as a way to cope with difficult circumstances.
I realized that most of the tasks in support of the water festival were done and much of the final coordination could take place via telephone or text messages. That was the emerging plan under the worst case scenario of losing all of my data from the computer crash.
It was still early and I decided to put my angst to work. I attacked the piles of papers and other clutter on and around my desk. Within an hour the area was transformed into a place of order and more open space than I ever had before. I was surprised to see all the junk I was holding on to because I was often too busy to consider its longer-term irrelevance. The experience reminded me how a real or perceived crisis can force us to be more realistic.
Eddie called and I explained what happened. He calmly told me to bring the computer over. Six hours later, I returned home with a new computer. The fan in my computer had given out and it fried the mother board. I’m summarizing the recovery process, but it entailed two trips to a local store for parts and lots of time setting up the various programs. The best news is that all of the files were still on the hard drive.
Working with Eddie was an opportunity to discuss a variety of ways to enhance the performance of my computer and its user. I had heard the same advice many times before, but I was motivated and more focused than ever before.
In the period of 24 hours, I went from feeling total angst to a sense of inspiration.
This is the story of life and it’s a reminder that faith is a process. It is a participatory experience requiring our positive activity and reliance on each other. Our goodwill as humans enhances the faith of others. Each of us can help each other through difficult times—big or small.
Randy owns Triple 3 Marketing. He’s a long term advocate for positive change having owned a couple community magazines since 1999. Randy sold Positive Change Media in April 2009 and took a year off before launching Triple 3 Marketing. In addition to helping business owners, he also provides private coaching. Randy has a masters degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he studied persuasion and attitude change. Contact Randy at email@example.com.