We Always Have a Choice

Well, I have arrived at my husband’s antiquated computer, figured out my Word Press password, and am here ready to post.  It has been a long journey.  One day a week ago or more ago, I logged off my computer after doing some e-mail.  About four hours later I logged on again – and had no wi-fi.  I could not e-mail, send a blog, print, do a web search. I was puzzled, then discouraged, then depressed, then ANGRY, then hopeless.  It was less than a year ago that my last computer died and my son had chosen this new one for me.

I think it was the hopelessness that got my husband out of his sick bed long enough to figure out his computer password and turn over his computer to me so I could at least connect with the world by e-mail. (No, I don’t have a smart phone, and even the flip phone I have isn’t reliable. But I have been on a “live chat” when it shuts down often enough so that I can fix it myself – which also happened in the week I am about to describe.)

But I am getting ahead of myself.

After concluding that I had no idea how to fix this particular problem with my less-than-a-year-old computer, I called my son, a computer science professor at Hope College who can fix anything on a computer . . . except, as it turns out, this problem. He took it home, worked on it, came up only with the fact that the device that connects to wi-fi must not work. He checked with the gurus in the Hope College tech department.  They agreed with his assessment. He took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy.  They said that Ryan and friends were “probably right” so, since it was under warrantee, they would send it to Dell to be fixed.  However, it might take two or three weeks . . . you know, because shipping stuff is such a problem due to COVID 19.

So . . . here I am with my slow-as-molasses substitute computer with an external hard drive on which my son has loaded all my files ready to work – only to discover that my husband had never loaded Microsoft Office, so I can’t use my files.

But I have figured out how to blog.

Those of you who follow this blog may have noticed that my tendency is to turn every issue into a spiritual formation puzzle – what can I learn from this that will help me in my journey to be an apprentice of Jesus?

As I was mulling this question over, I started a count down of the other issues we have tackled in the days before the computer disaster:

♦   a water heater that went on strike.  Our wonderful maintenance guy (Lonnie) for the apartment complex installed a new element in less than two hours.  Voila!  Hot water.

♦  a toilet that was grossly plugged up twice – same wonderful Lonnie snaked it out twice.

♦  a napkin or kleenex that found its way into the washing machine and shredded over and on all the clothes.  Figuring that wonderful Lonnie wouldn’t fix this, I shook out each piece of clothing and hoped the dryer lint trap would get the rest.  It did.

♦  a food delivery service that  somehow  charged me for four cans of mandarin oranges when one can  was delivered.  Do you think I could find a number or e-mail address for the delivery service on the Meijer website?  You’re right.  So I called Meijer customer service for three straight days and heard “All our lines are busy now. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received).  I must have been caller number 1,349, because I never got through. When the Meijer delivery person came this week (not the same one as last week, of course), I asked him for a number to call to get this fixed and he gave me one.  Excitedly, I called it and got: “All our lines are busy now . . . ”  I gave up.

And then today, my  husband and I decided to visit a beautiful park on Lake Macatawa and “get away from it all. ”  As I backed out of the garage, torrential rain poured on us – all the way to the lake and the whole time we were there.  We had to use the windshield wipers to even see the  lake -and the two unfortunate boaters who had also been caught in the rain.

I walked into the house a half hour later in a very unspiritual mood. And then I remember-ed a quote from Henri Nouwen that I had saved (and evidently ignored) in a draft post weeks ago:

“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. . . . The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious. . . . 

Ah. Yes.  I have a choice.  We all have a choice.  I can choose to be grateful for the blessings rather than rehashing all the complaints.  I learned this long ago, but it’s funny how all our spiritual lessons fly out the window when life doesn’t seem fair. So once again, I am choosing to be grateful for a boatload of blessing and shutting the door to complaints as tightly as I can until my computer arrives – or until something else goes wrong.

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