Friday, February 13, 2009

Absence, Dependency, and Lack of Control

This is not what I planned; not what I intended. I set aside time to write frequent entries on my new blog, hoping I would get comfortable with this new style and tool for writing and reflection and that you, a potential ongoing reader, would have frequent entries to read and therefore, want to make this blog a "regular" in your life. Well, the best laid plans were tossed in the air and the landing was delayed. For almost two weeks I was in laptop/printer distress, and I experienced a whole range of feelings.

First, I realized I needed help, and I felt energized by reaching out for help and finding someone approachable and available who could help me. Being new in this community, we are still putting together our team and a good computer tech who doesn't make me feel like an idiot is a necessary member of that team. Now if I could just find a dentist!

The first few days I enjoyed my laptopless condition. I had informed those with whom I communicate most regularly about the situation and asked my husband to bring home his laptop from work, so I could do some emailing in the evenings. At first I enjoyed the extra space in my day. I spent more time in morning meditation. I read more. Walked more. I sat at my desk in our bedroom, where I never bring the laptop, and I wrote letters. Yes, handwrote letters.

I stayed calm. I praised my patience. At first.

However, the time of laptoplessness lengthened and all my dresser drawers were now clean and lavender scented with fresh drawer liners. Each day I would check-in with my computer guy and each day he would be sure all would be well later in the day. One problem became another problem, however, and laptopless time extended on and on. Eventually, these prodigal machines did come home and that was when I really fell apart. You can fill-in the blank with your own computer nightmares, but there were more phone calls, a new printer, loss of email addresses, (but not documents, thank you God) a visit from a tech to install my printer and then frustration as recently as minutes ago because my printer was NOT working. I figured it out and for this moment I am breathing evenly.

During these days I felt a bundle of feelings:
I felt scared.
I felt frustrated.
I felt alone.
I felt lack of control.
I felt disappointed.
I felt sad.
I felt disconnected.
I felt dependent.
I felt uncomforted.
I felt vulnerable.
I felt embarrassed.
I felt angry.
I felt anxious.
I felt unclear.
I felt uncertain.
Sometimes all at the same time.

And then finally when all was restored, I felt grateful, deeply grateful. The first time I emailed dear friends and family members and said, "I am back" was a sacred moment. These machines are sacred objects. Yes, if my house were on fire, I would grab my laptop. But I also became aware, at least momentarily, for this is a lesson, I will need to learn yet again, that these miraculous machines are not objects meant to be worshipped. They are not meant to rule my life or take the place of my life. Perhaps it is time to institute intentional sabbatical time; planned timed-outs from computer accessibility.

Mark Nepo says in his Book of Awakening, "It is the path off the path that brings us to God." And sometimes the path means being off-line.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy,

    Niki here from Cleveland! I think your blog is starting out the way a great blog should be - personal, personable, and with great meaning for you and those who read it. This will be a success, even if no one reads it (which of course they will read it) because it is a very powerful form of self-expression. It is, for lack of a better term, a diary. Only, you have made this public, which in and of itself is both brave AND humbling.

    Good luck and I will surely bookmark your blog and check back regularly. I WISH I could be near to help you with your computer!!!!! Of course, you can always feel free to email or call at will. Remember, backup backup backup backup backup! I will be glad to go over various ways to accomplish this and let you chose the least daunting of options.

    Much Love,