On Losing a Computer

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I really appreciate all your kind concern over the fate of my lost computer.

If you weren’t here last week, I mentioned in service that on my quick trip to Denver, CO, to visit the Thomas family I accidently left my computer in one of those plastic bens at the security check point at the Nashville airport. I didn’t realize it until I opened my satchel half way to Denver to find that my beautiful silver MacBook Pro was missing in action. Enter panic attack!

When I landed in Denver, I immediately called security in Nashville. No computer had been turned in. A little worried, I comforted myself with the thought that it’ll turn up soon. It couldn’t have gone far, right? Boy was I wrong. Much to my surprise, I received an e-mail message from someone in China who had my computer. You read that right: China! Somehow or another my computer ended up in this man’s suitcase and travelled half way across the world.

As I write to you today, the computer is still somewhere in China. I’ve corresponded with the man who has it several times. Last I heard he was going to look into the best way to return my computer. I’ve suggested he find a FedEx and let them take care of it! Pray he takes me up on that suggestion.

I’ve learned a few things from this experience thus far. Mostly, I’ve learned that you should never lose your computer! Trust me on this, friends. But aside from this obvious lesson, I’ve been forced to come to grips with how technologically dependent I am. I knew this before I lost my computer to a degree, but it’s come home to me in rather personal and painful way the moment my machine went missing. In a real and unsettling way, I felt as if my life had come to screeching halt. No computer. No life. How was I going to survive? Sounds ridiculous, but that’s how it felt.

Thankfully, I’ve learned there is a life beyond computers. In fact, it’s a pretty good life. For instance, I’ve rediscovered the gift of pen and paper. I’ve always loved to journal and handwriting, but I’ve drifted away from it as I’ve become more wedded to the computer. I’m experiencing a new and refreshing slowness in the practice of handwriting. I can even sense my mind slowing down in a healthy way, moving at a human pace rather than a technological one. Interestingly, I’m finding an increased ability to make connections between words, meanings, and concepts that seem to be missing when I’m following the blinking cursor and keypunching.

As strange as it may sound, there is something of a renewed satisfaction with meditative study taking place for me. Through the deliberate process of longhand writing, a fresh attention and receptivity has awakened. I can feel it in my bones.

Don’t misunderstand me. I want my computer back, and the sooner the better, please! But, by God’s providence, I’m grateful for this forced technological hiatus. For maybe when the computer gets here (if it does), I won’t let the computer “get me” as much as it once did.

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