I’ve been offline for awhile, due to the fact that my computer system was hijacked by pirates. I came home from a weekend away, in the not so distant past, to find that nothing was quite working correctly with my home computer system. The more I tinkered with it, the more alarmed I became. Finally, I found it…the ransom note. Suddenly I had been sucked into a real-life “CSI: Cyber” episode! It seemed unbelievable, but it was true–all of my personal files had been stolen, and the persons responsible were asking me to pay a large amount of money (in “computer-pirate” currency, no less) to get them back. As I went through my folders and programs, I became more and more panicked. In the end, I had to accept the truth–my files were locked and it seemed that there was no way to unlock them again. My pictures. My iTunes songs. My emails from my Grandma. Every document I had ever saved. It was a nauseating reality. However, on one point I was certain–I would rather take a hatchet to my computer myself than to pay criminals to get my files back. As time has passed, I’ve gotten perspective on the situation. As traumatic as the loss felt, it is but a blip on the screen (so to speak) compared to the kinds of loss that people experience through life. I have been thinking a lot about the subject of loss over the past few years, and contemplating how our lives are shaped by the losses we endure. I know that the heartwrenching pain of loss is full of despair and grief–but that it also sharpens and focuses the way that we show grace and give each other hope.
Those are the big kinds of losses–but what about the little ones? I know that I try pretty hard to hold onto things. I am not content to know that my favorite Broadway clips are available on YouTube–I want them recorded to DVD for myself. I have boxes of photos and special cards received from friends and family. I have handwritten notes from fifteen years of sweet little first graders. I have a whole tub of cassette tapes. And the books…do we really need to talk about the books? Let’s just say–if I had a book then, I have it now. Thank goodness they invented Kindles! Somehow I feel safer knowing that I can still see and touch the things that are precious to me, especially with the memories they hold. I need to realize, though, that I can hold on as hard as I like–but there are no guarantees. Losing my computer files re-taught me that lesson, as well as a couple of others. People and relationships with those we love are more precious than things. Some things can be replaced and others cannot, but my memories do not live in objects. Losing something hurts, but there is peace in learning how to let it go. And it is better to look forward with hope than to look back with sadness.
Oh yes…I also learned the following. It is not enough to back up documents and files to an external drive. We need to keep that external drive UNPLUGGED! That part is pretty important. Speaking of backing up, we should back up to at least three places. Also, if anyone has a great recommendation for a stronger, better antivirus program, I’m in the market for one. Preferably one that is pirate-proof. Because I’m not going down like that again!! To quote Mr. Smee “That ain’t good form, that ain’t!”