I have not thought much about my computer since I first started using one when basically they were simple word processors. Indeed computers are ubiquitous, much like electricity which we tend to be aware of only when there is a power outage. They always work: email, internet, all of it just is and does.
Until it happened!
I was having my morning coffee, looking out the window, full, I admit, of frustration, anger, why me and how come Lord You keep letting this crap happen to me?
Christmas eve I had a major computer glitch which, when following the advice of one of those offshore people computer companies expect us to trust, though often their English abilities are excruciatingly, frustratingly poor, resulting in the subsequent repair/re-install wiping out absolutely everything.
Apparently, according to another English deficient technician, a ‘clean install’ is considered normal and yes everything, all documents, settings, links, you name it, everything is gone!
Several hundred dollars and weeks of ever increasing frustrating, disheartening anger later, things are more or less working again.
But I was still angry with a God who’d allow a pensioner, especially over Christmas, to have such unexpected expense and worse, since I rely on the computer for writing, communicating, getting world and Church news, staying in touch with family and friends, well come on God, why do You keep doing this stuff to me, allowing such crap to plague my life?
Then I looked up and out the window.
There she was.
An elderly dumpster diver who, she was covered in snow, had clearly just fallen on the ice.
She was sitting on her haunches, looking up towards the heavens from which snow was falling relentlessly, pushed by a wind which had driven the windchill down towards the minus thirties.
You could feel the intense pain deep in her very being and hear borne on the wind the cry of a beaten down human being, gazing upward, yearning to understand, pleading for a comprehensible answer to the proverbial enigma of “why?”, yet all that came down from the heavens was more snow borne on the icy wind.
Like the innumerable falling flakes of snow, as I scrambled to put on my boots to go out to help her, words from psalm 69 came to my heart: I am stuck…there is no place to stand…the storm overwhelmed me. I grow weary with crying; my throat is hoarse; My eyes fail me from hoping in my God….Let not…the deep swallow me up….Turn not Your face from Your child, for I am afflicted…I am poor and suffering….
However by the time I got out the door and was heading into the alley to see if I could help her, she had already gotten to her feet, was slowly walking to the next dumpster to see what she could find.
I watched her until I felt sure she was alright and came back inside.
Everything now was in proper perspective: so I’d had a rough time because an inanimate object had broken down, so I had to spend time and a little money getting things fixed, big deal!, I am blessed with sufficient food, clothing, shelter, warmth, family, faith.
No daily struggle not to freeze to death at night because there is no room in the shelters, no hunger as I trudge through snow in the bitter cold to find a few empty cans or bottles to sell.
Sure, all of us from time to time can feel like that woman, can in the depths of our soul be down on the ground overcome with sorrow, frustration, darkness.
What a gift though to have seen things in proper perspective.
Bless Your daughter, my sister O Lord and I trust, as I asked of You in the morning, she found a dumpster overflowing with empty bottles and cans.