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Archive for November, 2009

Working on the computer the other day I was watching the printer, busy producing leaflets for distribution around the village telling the world what New Longton Methodist is doing in the weeks coming up to Christmas.  All was well and the printing was on schedule.  Without warning the computer suddenly shut down and began to reboot.  It then repeated this process endlessly until I switched the thing off.  Luckily I also have a laptop so I was able to search the Internet to find what the problem might be.  It looked very much like a Sasser or Blaster virus and, by all accounts, might prove difficult to remove.  I visited various sites and downloaded all sorts of software which might just get rid of the virus.  After driving myself mad with the thing for a couple of days I decided to resort to the last resort of reformatting the hard drive.  Having had a similar scare once before I had armed myself with a Maxtor external hard drive which did an automatic backup every night. I knew that I was in for a lot of work re-installing all the software but there seemed to be no other option.  I spent the rest of the day waiting for the hard drive to re-format and then installed Windows.  Now to look at the Maxtor hard drive and see how to restore all my precious files.  This was when the problems started.  To cut a long story short, the external hard drive had also failed, whether because of the same virus or some other reason I cannot say but on dismantling it the discs were not spinning.  After hours of fiddling I managed to get the drive to run but all that it would do was to click violently and produce rough noises.  Another search of Google suggested that Maxtor drives, and probably many other drives do not last for ever and that recovering the data from the drive could be incredibly expensive. 

I have to admit that as I began to assess what I had lost I felt physically sick.  All my photos, recording of Church Choir events over many years, names and addresses of friends and family, electrical records from my PAT testing machine, e-mail addresses, the list just went on and on.  I continued to struggle with everything, trying first this and then that in a desperate attempt to recover even just some of what I had lost.

When I went to bed that night I lay awake thinking about this and began to realise how much importance I was putting on all this information – all in the past.  It seemed as if my life couldn’t go on without this mass of information about the past.  Had I become dependant on this data.  When I wakened up the following morning I was still feeling upset about the whole thing but had to admit that I still had a lot to be thankful for.  There would be many folks around the world who would consider the loss of some computer data a very minor matter compared with the losses they were facing.  Would the world really end because of this.  Would it matter to anyone else other than to me. 

As I thought more about it and gradually started to re-install my programmes I began to realise that perhaps it had its advantages.  I was no longer a slave to the past.  What had gone was gone forever and I needed to start anew.  When I started to look among my papers I found a list of names and addresses of friends and family so that could be put back.  I still have CD recording of much of what I had lost and gradually my computer is getting back to normal.  I must say that it is much easier to find my way around now that several years of rubbish have been removed and it is the chance to learn from the past and organise things better in future.

Perhaps we might benefit if we could have the courage to do something similar with our lives and let go of the past, with all its memories and associations.   Memories are not a bad thing and can bring much pleasure and certainly learning from the past by studying what has gone before and learning from it should improve our lives but when the past begins to control what we do it can become a limiting influence. We can find ourselves putting every event on the spreadsheet of life and comparing ourselves with others, with past performance, are we living up to expectations, are we performing as well as we should, are we cost-effective, in fact – we can begin to question our own worth by measuring ourselves against others, against the ‘norm’, instead of believing that every one of us has a purpose in life and we all have gifts and talents which we can use, even in the most difficult situations.  When we give up on life we are failing to see the possibilities each new day offers.

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