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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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