There was a time in our home when I was perhaps the smartest person around. Whenever something wasn’t working right, or there was a question about something mechanical or even electronic, the family would seek out dear old Dad, who was the very fountain of knowledge. It was great.
And then Adam entered about 7th grade, and Aaron went into 9th, and somehow, someway, my intellectual fortitude started to fade. Rapidly. In fact, it took nearly no time at all when, instead of asking me to fix something, they both were carefully explaining the ins and outs of computer set up, of television “stuff,” and cellphone technology. Over the last number of years, my knowledge has remained pretty stable, which is to say, I have slipped further and further back down the evolutionary hole when it comes to anything 21st century technology. The boys must have been taking night classes or something, because more and more, Cheri and I were being forced to bring our things to them to “fix,” and they began to speak slower and slower, trying to describe and detail what needed to happen in order for that part of our world to function again.
Now, at this point in history, it’s just kind of silly. I don’t even try to pretend anymore – it’s no longer a matter of, “this isn’t working quite right – what would you suggest I do?” No, now it’s just “Not working. Fix it, please.” And what I don’t get fixed, I just learn to do without. That, paired with the fact that I need reading glasses almost all the time means that there is a whole lot of this world, technologically, that’s just waving as it speeds by. My best trick is now, “Unplug, count to 45, plug in and restart.” Works for about 80% of my problems.
So, for some reason, when we took on the latest internet/phone/cable company, we got rid of a vcr, and other taping or recording devices, and simply went with “TiVo,” which will record everything in the known universe, for mere tens of dollars – maybe even $100 per month. By this point, I had given over any and all technological control of the electronics to the boys, and just acted in my best capacity as Bank of Dad. We had the company install the stuff we needed, and it worked very well. But it wasn’t quite fast enough, so we got a different router (which I always thought was to carve wood with) and a different modem, and then another, better different router, and a booster router, and then finally another router/modem combo, I think that hopefully will last us until at least next week sometime.
Now, you would think the world was sunshine and lollypops by then, but storm clouds continued to appear on the horizon. Things were just not working the way they should, especially for Mr. TiVo. The recorded programs were recording about 30 seconds into the show, and then it began to tell us that we were not connected to whatever network we were supposed to be connected to.
Now, to be honest, it didn’t bother me at all, but it was driving Adam slightly crazy, and you don’t want a slightly crazy techno-geek on your hands. Finally, this morning, he made the ultimate request. “Would you call the cable company and explain what is going on with our system?” In another setting, the conversation would have been like the zookeeper giving the chimpanzee a chainsaw, and asking him to trim his toenails. I must have truly looked like a deer in the headlights. I told Adam that it’s not going to work, because the guy is going to start asking questions to narrow down the problem, and by the time he hits the third question, I’m just going to hang up because I won’t know at all what he is talking about…
But I was handed the task, so I tried. Sure enough, by the third question, I was sinking fast. Then, of course, what I thought should happen in the first place happened: I handed the phone to Adam and the two of them went on their merry way working to fix the problem.
Except they couldn’t. They were at a standstill, and the only thing left to do was to bring in a real-life fixer-agent to see what the big problem was. Now, what amazed me was that this all happened at 11am this morning, and the fixer-man was here by 1pm! If you need proof of a miracle…
So, I took him back to where the cords and machinery and boxes and switches all were, and then stood back to see what he might find out. At this point, it usually goes like, “Oh well, you have a non-comported spinning zacheryde, which is causing your dimfort to non-coagulate. I’ll have to order that piece, and it will be about six months…”
That was the news I waited for. He was quiet for a moment, and then said, “Wait a minute – why is this here?” And he proceeded to explain that with one of our many upgrades and changes, we had installed the apparently whoop-di-doop router/modem, that was probably made for 50 years into the future, but happened to find its way here. With that big deal, we were no longer in need of the TiVo stand alone black box, since it was taken care of by Mr. Whoop-di-doo. In fact, not only did we not need it, but he also presumed that the two were fighting each other for home staking privileges, and that’s why the TiVo kept telling us it was not in the network. It kept getting kidnapped by rival forces.
So, without ceremony, he yanked out the old box, and the ethernet cable, and two other cords just for fun, and restarted the modem. Long story just a little longer – everything is functioning perfectly this afternoon, and peace once again reigns in the land of the Cross electronics. Until next time.
I find it interesting that it took a live human, on the ground, to look at the system, and realize what was going on. I should also say, a live human with skills and training to see what was amiss. I could have stood there with a nice cup of coffee for hours, and figure it was all fine. But he was able to see the system, and the duel that was happening, and create a better, more efficient and workable solution.
That ought to be the way it works in all our lives. When we feel as though all we are doing is battling the forces, dueling without end, perhaps it’s useful to simply stop – and maybe for more than a moment – and look at what’s going on, and what doesn’t need to be part of the system, or where the real conflict is, and then with that knowledge, work to re-create a better something, and bring a workable solution to our struggles.
Just another way to be intentional. Something to think about today.
Word for the day: aeipathy. Pronounced ay-IH-pathy. From the separate pieces, it almost undoubtedly comes from the Greek. Two words, pathos¸ meaning “feeling,” but also “disease” (lets go with feeling this time), and aei, which translates “ever,” or “unceasing.” So the word we have is pretty much over the top. It means to have a continued love for something, or an all-consuming passion, or perhaps it is an unyielding disease… When I am filled with aeipathy, the thought of what I am thinking of nearly consumes me, and takes over my time and my energy, and seems like it will never come to an end. It sounds like the perfect word for a teenage boy with his first crush. Falling hard. He becomes aeipathetic.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.