Technological incompetence rules supreme. Did that say “save to disk”? Or was it “clear all files”? What does “critical error” mean? Can I keep surfing the web anyway? Evidently not, since the screen is now frozen. Control, alt, delete. Control, alt, delete. CONTROL, ALT, DELETE!
I joke about it, but once again the situation is very real. Our accounting computer has corrupted files on the hard drive. No chance of a restart, since the files are critical to rebooting. The Lovely Lady has fled the region, gallivanting off with her grandchildren. My clumsy attempts to fill her shoes are almost laughable, but I’m not amused. I struggle to cope with customers streaming in the doors, while the telephone clamors for its share of attention, sometimes two lines at once. “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you what your account balance is. The computer is indisposed.” “I’m sorry, but she’s not here today and won’t be placing an order this week.” I try to remember to smile. All the experts say that even people talking to you by phone know when you’re smiling.
The comedy of ineptitude is magnified by the woes of folks at the other end of the phone or in front of me. One of our main suppliers has no power, thus no ability to answer the phone or receive a FAX. Them, I did have an order to share with (of course, prepared by the Lovely Lady before her exit), but it will not be forthcoming. The lady in Virginia needs the product tomorrow for a funeral, the fellow standing pleadingly in front of me has to have the guitar repaired by tomorrow evening. And all the while, that dead computer sits there, nibbling away at the edges of my still outwardly calm demeanor. What am I going to do? Miraculously, the work day comes to an end; the light of the “OPEN” sign is extinguished and the door locked against further intrusion.
KNOCK! KNOCK! Someone is at the door and wants in. I cower in the darkness at my desk and consider my options. Could I slink out of my chair and into the back room without being seen? Maybe I could just yell, “We’re closed!” and let them leave angry. Neither choice seems to be appropriate, so I open the door to find my computer-guru son standing there.
We start the process to retrieve the information lost and decide to go get some supper while the files are being exchanged between sources. As we get in the car, the Lovely Lady calls to announce that she and her captors had made it safely to their destination. Already, the load is lifting. A good meal and good company complete the process. I recall the candy bar commercial, currently being shown in different incarnations, where one of the characters is portrayed as a “diva”, a demanding, complaining attention-hog. His friends hand him the candy bar and all is right with the world once more. No more complaining, apologies all around, and peace reigns. How did I become that diva? And, how many times do I personally need to see the truth to recognize the situation when it begins, instead of after it’s settled?
Regardless, I’m content tonight in the knowledge that our lives are one experience of grace after another; one more chance to do better than the last time. Hard things come into our lives for a reason. Hopefully, we grow and learn from them. Some of us are more stubborn than others and have to work our way through the lessons more often.
I’m not really a quick study, I guess. I am coming to greatly appreciate those people who come alongside and hand me a candy bar. That’s a lesson learned today. We’ll see what comes tomorrow.
“When God give us tribulations, he expects us to tribulate.”
“Trouble is temporary. Time is tonic. Tribulation is a test tube.”
(William Arthur Ward~American pastor and teacher~1921-1994)