Friday, September 14, 2007
Blind, Bull-Headed and/or a Bit Clueless
Computer issues. Internet issues. Spam. Spyware. It's a rocky road I seem to live on, here in cyberspace. Something is always wrong with my computer, or my connection, or my upload, or download. Often I'm needing to clean something, or load a new program to fix the program I bought last year that I'm now told is 'crap', or switch this, add that. For the most part it baffles me, makes my brain hurt and I just don't want to think about it all. Mental laziness.

I could climb up on Santa's lap and give him the list, all I want is for everything to work perfectly all the time with no effort on my part. Take the computer, hand it across the counter, come back two days later, give them my credit card, and take home what was once a sick, straggling 12 x 12 box of metal, that is all better now. If I don't have to understand what was wrong and how it got well, all the better. Give me the shot, don't tell me where I got the disease.

Several months ago, honestly maybe 6 or more, I started getting mail from Verizon telling us about 'the new thang' - Fiber Optics. I could download this faster, upload that with less effort, much better speed. It's always about speed. I don't want my life to go faster, I want it to slow down a bit, so I can take a minute to smell the roses. I don't do YouTube, or download pirated movies, or listen to our church sermon on podcast. I actually sit down in a seat, listen and take notes the old-fashioned way. So I threw out the mail. For months. I saved one piece of paper, filed away in the 'Money Matters' file because they promised a savings. Yeah, right!

Then they took it a step further in our hate relationship. They started calling me. I like to think of myself as a nice person, but if the Caller I.D. says 'Unknown' or 'Out of Area', I answer with a growl that grows as they start their spill. Then I hang up, usually after being a bit rude, truth be told. I think they phoned several times and I was short, rude and ended the call.

Next, a young man in a shirt and tie appeared on the doorstep, with his Verizon badge on. I wouldn't even open the door, told him I don't care if it 'saves me money' for why on earth would a company charge me less for something, lose money to give me better service. Ludicrous! I patted myself on the back for being so clever as to see through their ploy, and shut the door. Score that zero for Verizon, another one for Smart Bev.

My computer issues have continued to grow over the past months, with me finally taking the computer to the Geeks, coming back a few days later after shelling out over $300, going home and it was worse. The program they'd loaded to deal with my Spyware had slowed everything down to a dark molasses trickle. Another trip and $45 later for a wee bit more RAM and I was back in the car, on my way. All was well!

It got worse. We had a monsoon rain storm a few days ago. Everything finally screeched to a halt, no uploads, downloads, etc. After an hour phone conversation with someone likely across the world named Bernard, we realized our home phone lines are junk. That only matters because we have DSL which runs through my phone lines. I did not know this. Likely if anyone ever attempted to explain it, I cut them off or hung up on them, or closed my front door in my typically charming way. When Verizon sent out the 'fix it guy', he tested my phone lines, removed ceiling tiles, dug around the garage, and finally told me there is one phone outlet in the basement rec room that has a great signal (the one my husband installed a month or so ago). So the router moved down a floor, we're moving at breakneck speed through cyberspace, but he told me the phone lines in the rest of the house are fine for talking on, but pitiful for cybercafe talk. He asked, has anyone talked to you about Fiber Optics?

He was so gracious, as I pulled out my one saved piece of paper, when I told him I'd thrown out multiple papers, hung up on people and shut the door in their faces, because I just didn't want to think about it, consider it, try to understand it, and whether it might be beneficial to our family. He told me it would lower our bill $20 a month, explaining Verizon spends millions a year to maintain the DSL lines and Fiber Optics don't require maintenance. He also told me almost everyone else on our street switched awhile back.

In two weeks they will be out to install the Fiberoptics, with a new router. My cost is $29.95 and he said I truly won't believe the difference, and when the rains hit again, and then the snow storms, or ice storms, it won't matter a whit because Fiber Optics are not affected by weather, and all that static on our phones? It will also go away, after we've removed the filters that are no longer necessary. So I won't have to run around the house trying to find a phone that is static free, or stand on the deck when it's raining trying to hear the non-telephone solicitor who just called.

Stubborn, prideful, unwilling to listen or consider, how ridiculous that a company would give me something for nothing, lower my costs, improve my life, fix the problems that have plagued me for months and months?! I cringe to consider that the last $300 repair to speed up our internet was possibly completely unnecessary. "She looks well to the ways of her household, she considers a field and purchases it......" Maybe she answers the phone, reads the mail, listens to the man at the door.

I've oftened wondered, even wagged my head a bit, at those who won't consider the Gospel, an offer of something for nothing, too-good-to-be-true offer of eternal security, but also a changed life here and now, something that will get you through the day, give you strength, comfort, shelter in the storm, a purpose bigger than yourself.. Is it just those who throw away the paper, hang up the phone and shut the door? Maybe they need a personal touch, that person standing in their kitchen, or the grocery line, or at a bookclub meeting, or waiting to drop off their kid at preschool, or on the golf course, or watching football together? Someone who is willing to do more than hand over a tract, or leave it in the bathroom stall?

And how 'bout those messages He sends me over and over and over that I miss? Those - 'your attitude stinks', 'you're harboring bitterness', 'are you no longer willing to serve', 'does charity begin in your home', the list could go on and on. How many of those have I thrown out, hung up on, or shut the door when they show their face in my life, sometimes through a sermon or devotion or scripture reading, or the well-meaning words of a friend who loves me warts and all.

I missed out on some cyberspeed, could have saved our family some money and used my time better. In the eternal scope of things, all that matters little. What does matter is the lesson offered to me. Who, in my walk of life, needs the Gospel to have some skin on it, a face, faith walked out? What else have I been bull-headed about, what am I not seeing, from the blinders I've grown so comfortable with I no longer notice them, and in spite of being in the second half of life, what am I completely clueless about?

Mercy, isn't this life a continual lesson, '101' in whatever He sees I need right now. Delivered through a nice guy who bothered to explain fiber optics to me, across my kitchen table. Grace, mercy, patience unending - it just never ceases to amaze me.


  posted at 8:26 AM

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