Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Digital Withdrawal

Open LaptopHave you ever had a major virus attack on your PC or laptop?  Last week, even though I have Norton 360, I got attacked and it took out my entire C-drive.  Up came a screen – which looked a bit different from the usual – asking for my activation code.  I figured it was nothing more than an update.  Wrong!

Over the next two-hours the virus erased my entire hard-drive literally bit by bit.  Nothing’s wrong with the machine except that it’s had a lobotomy.  It’s quite literally brain-dead. Eventually I’ll be looking for help at reloading all that’s needed to restore it to full working order.

At first, like any normal human being, I was furious.  I couldn’t figure out what was happening.  I couldn’t “fix” it.  There was absolutely nothing that could be done.  After about an hour of fiddling with it I pieced the events together and realized what had happened.  Then I was at peace about it all.  I wasn’t losing anything that couldn’t be replaced.  Any really important stuff is saved in other media, so no harm done.  Here’s the gift in it though, since I lost nothing except the convenience of a portable “use it anywhere” laptop, I was having all the symptoms of digital-addiction withdrawal.  Addiction is something I know about.

Many years ago I tried to quit smoking “cold turkey” and it took three attempts over several years to actually breakthrough to where I didn’t want another cigarette.  I was absolutely free of any pangs of desire screaming at me to be satiated.  It was bliss.

Right now I do have use of a couple of other computers.  That’s why I can continue writing, but – and this is significant for me – this entire fiasco has brought about a serious evaluation of why I use my laptop, how I use it, and what I use it for.

Confession: I’ve been pretty lax about getting to my art-making lately.  It’s a Resistance thing (read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art).  I was putting off working because I was, well, “working”.  No, I wasn’t wasting time playing videos, or watching movies.  I was doing idea/inspiration searches.  With me – because I’m a philomathic global learner – it’s not very focused searching.  I wander from one thing to another in an aimless meandering of utter, total, immersive fascination.  Once I’ve got the “big-picture” the connections all fall into place.  It’s awesome, and addictive; way better than video games!

I love learning so much that I actually hoard bookmarks.  If it interests me it gets filed in my – three-levels-deep – bookmarks in Firefox.  I may actually have more bookmarks than the Lord has angels, although I wouldn’t bet on it.  Anyway, that’s what I was having withdrawals over – wandering searches all across the web, anytime, anywhere.  I was so entranced that my latest batch of handmade coptic journals on my ETSY site had expired.  Much to my embarrassment, it took an email from an interested friend to tell me about it.

So here I am using computers from other family members, but in a highly limited way.  Maybe this is a Lenten thing the Lord’s leading me through, I don’t really know.  What I do know is that my Lord and Master is lovingly correcting me.  After all, I work for Him and I’ve been off “playing” and neglecting my work.  It took a PC virus to bring it all to a halt and refocus me, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:22-23 NIV

This year I am in prayer that God will call me to deeper waters, in life, in faith, and in my art.  I have asked Him for this kind of revelation and here He is delivering what I need.  Aside from the fact that I didn’t lose anything important from the crash, and the laptop is repairable, the single most significant gift in the midst of that wretched frustration is that Father God restored me to my original commission.  He set my feet back on course so that I can grow, dwell in these slightly deeper spiritual waters, and create works of art from a far richer relationship with Him.

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