Finding gratitude when life is good is easy. Finding gratitude in the midst of a challenge is a choice. A lesson I was sharing with my friends at Focusing on Life in November 2013.
You might have noticed that I haven’t posted for the past couple of days…I’ve been dealing with technical issues related to my server and permissions and some kind of mod_security rule. #JesusFixIt Thankfully, and I do mean with profound thanks to the support team at my web-hosting provider, I think I finally have all of the issues handled. Trust me when I tell you that the irony of this situation was not lost on me considering the technological nature of the post I am sharing today.
But once again, the choice to find gratitude in this situation is every bit as relevant today as it was five years ago. For helpful souls. For good backups. For remembering that a couple of missed days of blogging is not the end of the world. For allowing myself to be uncomfortable which means that I am alive and brave in this wonderful, frustrating, challenging, and beautiful life.
This is not at all the blog post I intended to write this week. But considering that this month our theme is gratitude, I thought I might share a little about my weekend. Because it involved finding some gratitude when there wasn’t much to be happy about.
I guess I should back up.
You know how they say that it’s not ‘if’ you are going to have computer problems but rather ‘when’? I know this is a topic that has been shared before here on this blog. I know it has happened to us all…I personally experienced this very thing earlier in the year. And well, this past weekend my daughter experienced it firsthand.
It was an accident… as a lot of times these problems are. I got a call Saturday afternoon, my sweet girl in tears. She had spilled her soup on her laptop and it had promptly stopped working. And because life is well…life, it happened at the worst possible time for her – she has four big papers due this week. Two of which were already written (because my girl, unlike her mother, tends to plan ahead and not let things pile up on her last minute). But they were saved on her hard drive.
Thankfully my husband and I were in town for the football game, so we were able to be there in person to help our sweet girl in her time of need. And so Saturday evening we searched the web to see if there was anything we could do to get her computer to work. A few websites suggested setting a laptop into cat litter as that would help dry out the insides, so Kelsey and I made a mad dash to Target for some Fresh Step and and a plastic storage bin. We set her laptop in the cat litter overnight. Sunday morning we tried powering it on. No luck.
After breakfast, the three of us drove over to Best Buy to visit with the Geek Squad, hoping that they could take a look and somehow get it to power up. We were paired with Jason, a kind and compassionate Geek Squad rep, who took the time to take the back off and look at the guts of the laptop. He wasn’t optimistic. And after a couple of minutes, we were faced with our biggest fear. Kelsey’s laptop was irreparably damaged.
At this point there weren’t a lot of options. But nevertheless, Kelsey still had four papers due by Thursday.
Jason offered to look into retrieving the data on her hard drive. And so with a teeny screwdriver he took the guts apart to remove the slender, metal box…inside of which contained the past three years of my girl’s life. We were relieved to know that her hard drive was recoverable. And so we bought a flash drive and paid the $100 for the data-retrieval.
Now I know what you’re thinking…the thing we didn’t want to happen, happened. And now I’m writing a post about gratitude??
Yes. I am writing a post about gratitude.
The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
As Kelsey and I were driving back to her apartment, she was in tears. So sorrowful for the accident. But it was an accident…I know this. She is an incredibly responsible child who has never caused us any trouble. This is life. Real life. S*** happens.
So sitting there in the passenger seat, consoling my girl, I was trying to process everything. My mind was going a mile a minute. But then I took a deep breath.
Yes. Breathe. Exhale.
They can retrieve the papers she’s already written. Yes. Thank you. Gratitude. OK. I have my laptop and charger in my bag. Yes…gratitude. Kelsey has a Mac, but I have a PC. But she saves her files PC compatible. Yes. Thank you. She can get her papers turned in on time. Yes. Gratitude.
Do you see what just happened here?
What I didn’t want to happen, happened. But yet…there is still so much to be grateful for. This is hard gratitude…finding something to be thankful for in the midst of difficulties. But it’s there for those with eyes to see it.
As I sat there next to Kelsey, I told her that this is what we like to call ‘teachable moments’ in parenthood. And the lessons to be learned here are many. Obviously the first being, back up your computer. Often. But there is also the lesson in life…because bad things are going to happen. Even though we take care of things and are proactive, things break. Computers die. Tires get holes. Trees fall. It’s just the way life is. And then there’s also the lesson in having money in savings for things like this. Sure it’s not nearly as fun as new shoes or a new outfit, but it’s important to having a little something put aside for when (not if) things need repaired/replaced.
A lesson learned. Yes. Gratitude.
So here I am, typing this blog post on my husband’s laptop while my daughter is two hours away using mine. She is getting her homework done and I am able to finish my blog post. The unfortunate situation went from dire to doable.
I suppose some might attribute my peace and serenity about this situation to my ‘mary sunshine’ personality. And I will tell you that it would not be the first time someone has accused me of this.
But I beg to differ.
Because gratitude is a choice.
Even when it’s hard.
I shot this photo Saturday evening. Kelsey’s laptop was nestled in several inches of Fresh Step. Tripp and I had already talked about possible outcomes involving new computers. We hadn’t yet learned that the miracle that we were praying for wasn’t going to happen. But yet, this light as it fell across our hotel room bed. Such a blessing. A reminder to me of this big, messy, wonderful, frustrating life. And the big picture…a broken computer is not the end of the world.
So as I close out here, I want to first of all encourage, no…IMPLORE you to please go and back up your computer. And then, I would also encourage you to choose gratitude. Find something to be grateful for…even when it’s hard. Because it changes everything.