I had one of those “First World” tragedies the other day. The hard drive on my church computer died on a Sunday.
We’ve all had computers long enough now that I’m sure you realize the significance and weight and doom of such a moment. (I am confident that I can speak here as among close friends since those folks still living in the last century who refuse to get involved with computers and email and internet are obviously not reading this. They know nothing of our sorrows.)
Our faithful IT man, Sid, was already at my desk first thing Monday morning diagnosing the magnitude of the problem. The important data files were all safe and restorable. Having determined the hard drive was kaput (technical computer talk) he pulled a new one from his kit, installed it, and then suggested we upgrade the old XP OS to Windows 7.
XP was released on my birthday in 2001. Microsoft stopped selling it in 2009. 400 million copies of XP were sold during those years. At one point it dominated 3/4’s of the market.
I’m used to it. I climbed the learning curve years ago and don’t have to think about the tool as I set about my work.
But companies that sell computer software for a living don’t stay in business with a single sale. They stay in business by making another sale, usually for something “new and improved.” (Let’s not go into the implication that what they sold you before was not as good as it could have been. We can come back to that another day.)
And so, after a couple of other “new and improveds,” today there is Windows 7.
Naturally nothing looks the same or works exactly the same as it did before. (That’s the “new” part.) And I am assured that there are plenty of “improveds” but these are less obvious to me.
What is obvious is that some of the changes are, for me, actually losses. I now have software programs that no longer work because Windows 7 changed internal protocols that were part of the XP system. Windows 7 also shook up the way remaining programs function, introducing new learning curves into what was formerly familiar. Dozen of default settings need to be reset (and rediscovered in their new hiding places) if they can be reset at all. One delight was discovering that Windows 7 would arbitrarily decide to reverse the order of the two monitor screens I use. Searching for solutions to this problem online I found out people have been complaining about this Windows 7 bug for over a year and no fix has been provided.
I’m having to spend time thinking about the new tool instead of the work. And at home, where I gratefully continue to run XP, a foreboding apprehension has settled in. Now I know some of the irritations and loss of usability I will face when that computer begins to sputter.
The ground rules are being changed after I made my commitment.
I know I could make an easy transition here to discussing this year’s General Convention in the Episcopal Church but I want to go larger.
It seems to me God puts changes like this into our lives all the time. And, as one counselor put it, “All change seems like loss.” I agree that’s the common first reaction. Things are moved around, reconnected in different and unfamiliar ways. Old, comfortable habits that didn’t seem to have anything wrong about them, suddenly fail to serve.
I made my commitment but now the ground rules are changed. Or expire. What’s the deal? What can I trust or re-commit to now?
“Don’t worry about tomorrow,” Jesus said. “What is that to you?” he said. “Follow me,” he said.
“There is a time for everything,” Solomon said. “A time to keep and a time to throw away,” he said.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away,” Job said. “May the name of the Lord be praised,” he said.