When Icebergs Sank My Computer

April 17, 2009 by Jen

Today was another frustrating example of why cavemen never invented computers. They were close enough to the Ice Age to know they didn’t need another one on a 12 x 15 screen.

…hmm…it made sense in my head.
My computer was busily updating itself from approximately 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. I was attempting to work during that same approximate span of hours. The two goals did not mesh, and the computer’s propensity for a frozen state slightly more solid than the iceberg that sank Titanic quickly became apparent.
In between stifling the angry curses that have little meaning in laptop language, I had a lot of time to think deep thoughts about the freezing in my own life.
When my computer feels overloaded, it first shows an hourglass. Then, if I add another process or ask it to scroll to the bottom of my Gmail Inbox, it moves to the next stage of angst, and the hourglass is replaced by a stubbornly partial screen with half of the page displaying on top of the one beneath it. It then rests – or twitches – in this state for an indefinite amount of time. 
Eventually, an error message appears on the screen with a picture of a very ugly computer wearing a scarf and surrounded by snowflakes. This program is not responding. (Thanks, Google Chrome, for telling me what I knew already.) 
Still, I sometimes yell at my computer, telling it to “show the error message already!” because even if nothing changes, at least it’s acknowledging that something’s wrong.
And yet, when the message appears, that actually means the computer is nearly unfrozen. You see, before, it was too frozen even to put up the message (which also takes processing speed and virtual memory). 
During one of the long delays before that stage, I realized that guilt and sin in my life are a little bit like the computer error message. 
Hiding guilt, sin, shame, is deeply unsatisfactory. So is pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s about as obvious as the computer screen that displays half of a Gmail Inbox and half of a MS Word document at the same time, in whiteout. Even if nothing changes at first, I have a deep desire to say the guilt and shame out loud, just to acknowledge that it is real.
And sometimes – not always – that acknowledgement is the foundation of healing. It means that my heart has unfrozen sufficiently to display the error message, and maybe, soon, it will have enough RAM to get past the problem and scroll down to the bottom of the Gmail Inbox. 
Or something like that. 
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