Yesterday, my computer crashed. In a little more detail, it all began with a paper jam.
I was reading manuscripts, critiquing, getting ready for my Tuesday night writer's group. I was printing out Jeanne's latest MS when my printer jammed. I cleared the paper and then my computer said an unknown USB port had attached itself to my computer.
My imagination swam with sci-fi images of alien life with suction cup tentacles clinging to the back of my computer.
I checked around, couldn't see any unknown aliens or USBs, so I did what I always do when my computer acts up, I re-boot.
BUT!!! When I rebooted, the computer froze on the opening Dell page and would not move from there. I pressed F2 and F12 to try to access the set-up or re-booting, but nothing. No reaction. Nada.
At first I was only mildly irritated and decided to re-boot again. But, again, my machine froze at that opening page. Again, I felt irritated, but not freaked out. I left it alone and decided to go to the kitchen to do a couple things. As the minutes ticked on, I began to panic. I went into a full blown, "I must fix this now" panic. Called friends for numbers of tech guys. Called some tech guys. I even cried a little, just a bit of high pitched panic fighting tears when I called my very own tech guy - my husband. I asked a friend, what is the Universe trying to say?
And then I wondered, what is the Universe trying to say? Here I was, with zip drive in hand, about to back up when my computer crashed. Here I am, days from a big writer's event where I needed my story, and my computer crashed. Does the Universe not want me to be a writer? Is it a sign about my writer's event? Maybe I shouldn't go??
Maybe we give the Universe too much credit.
But despite it all, somewhere, deep inside, I felt a sense of calm. It was small at first. But I felt it somewhere from within. I decided to let go of the fear and panic and go with the calm instead. My husband has fixed my computer before, I reasoned. He has recovered all my data before. I am going to relax, put my faith in him and know it will all be OK.
The thing is, I moved from panic to calm relatively quickly.... in maybe the span of two hours. For me, that's quick. Normally, I would have stayed stuck in panic until my computer was fixed. But this time, I really did trust. Inside, I was aware there was a piece of me shaking in fear, wanting to cry, rip my hair out. But I wouldn't succumb to that part of me.
My DH came home and within minutes, it was up and running again.
"How'd you do that?" I asked in amazement, spying two double A batteries on my desk.
"Well," he blushed, "I changed the batteries in your keyboard and plugged the printer back in. It was loose from the back."
I had visions in my head of this moment when my computer flashed with life again. I would wrap my arms around my DH's neck and exclaim, my hero. But batteries and a plug???
Well, he's still my hero, but I'm a bit embarrassed.
What did I learn from all of this. Like those phosphorescent minerals glowing in the dark, so was my calm. At first it was just a glow in the dark and my panic was at the surface. I decided to trade places. Put the calm upfront and the panic in the back. And, I saw the light.
I mean, I understand now. It's easy to panic when you wonder if you are about to lose your life's work. It's easy to panic when facing any potentially dangerous situation. But if you trust, if you believe somewhere within you, that everything will be alight, make the switch. Put your fear behind you and your faith in front. Things may or may not turn out the best in the end, but you will have moved through the situation better. With more grace.
I thought about my kids and the role I wanted to portray... a crying, panicked, crazy woman, or a calm, intelligent woman who believed it would be alright. When they asked me, I admitted I was scared, but I knew Daddy would come to the rescue, batteries and all.
So how often do you back up?