Tips from a 24-year old Grad Student on Liquid Computer Disasters

Here are some tips just in case your laptop gets doused by a random liquid of your choice:

1. Turn it off immediately. Don’t just sit there denying that it even happened, continuing what you were doing before. Even if your plans didn’t allow time for a spill and you really need to get a ton of shit done. Turn. It. Off.
2. If you take the computer apart, don’t leave the parts in an easily accessible place. Animals, like say a cat, tend to be attracted to objects they are not supposed to touch. And they might eat them.
3. Be prepared for your relationship with that liquid to change drastically. I am currently drinking tea and having terrible headaches. You do the math.
4. Allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of emotions that will ensue over the next two days. There is guaranteed anger, a few tears, and a ton of anxiety.
5. Pray. Or if you are like me: go to communion, thank The Lord Jesus for his sacrifice, and plead for him to salvage what is left of your data on your computer. Perhaps pray a psalm or two that truly reflect your emotions. The Big Guy really loves that.
6. After that tidal wave of….. Crap. Accept it. I’ve gone through every possible solution and tried to control every bit of this process. Unfortunately, I will just have to wait for another 24 hours and see if my computer is okay. If it is indeed fried, I hope I will at least be able to recover some of the stuff I have written over the years, along with some writing samples. If I’m not able to even do that, I will cry for a very long time and may need a few friends to console me. Eventually, life will go on.
7. And finally, Be prepared for it to be the longest 48 hours of your life.

Healing Takes Time

It was a Saturday morning. I sat across from my friend, listening as she poured her heart out to me, the raw emotion coming out in one big tidal wave. It ended in her saying, “I am trying to do all I can but I never seem to get better. I still feel awful and I just want to be okay.” I knew my response was not something she wanted to hear. She wanted a quick fix solution so she would no longer feel the pain that had been plaguing her for months. “Unfortunately,” I said, “there’s nothing more you can do other than keep doing what you’re doing. I hate using clichés, but this is something I strongly believe in; growth and healing take time.”

We live in an age of fast and easy

I admit, I’m one of those who when my iPhone or Internet connection is slow the angry side of Kaitlyn comes out. It’s such an inconvenience to my precious time and me. I only allotted so many minutes to this task and if it takes too long then it will throw my whole day off.

Technology has constructed us to be more impatient.  Now this is not me bashing technology, saying it is the cause of all our problems. I love my apple products. I love having my iPhone to use as my iPod, GPS, and computer all in one small rectangular box. It’s convenient and helps me out when I’m in a pickle. But I do believe technology along with the cultural messages we receive is a contributing factor to our impatience.

We have been conditioned to believe that if we don’t get something quickly and if it isn’t easy then there must be something wrong with us. That we must be doing something wrong. There must be an alternative way, a short cut; to whatever destination we want to be at. I don’t know about you, but my dad’s “short cuts” he took on road trips usually took twice as long to get to our destination than it would have to take the main route.  Not a good thing when you have a 10 and 7 year old in the backseat who are beginning to antagonize each other because they’re bored.

What I have found as I have helped people through the struggles they come in contact with in their everyday life is they want to reach the end goal of “happiness” without going through the hard work of processing through their past experiences, and feeling the feelings that come with it.

When it comes to healing and growth there is no perfect algorithm to predict where we will be in one, five, or 20 years.  We often look to the future with our end goal in mind. Idealizing what life will be like. Looking at ourselves through this image of black and white. “If I feel sad than I can’t be happy.” “ If I feel angry then I can’t feel joy.” “If it takes me more than 4 weeks to grieve this loss in my life then there is something wrong with me.”

Which leads me to this scripture: Luke 13:6-9

“Then he told them a story: “A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren’t any. He said to his gardener, ‘What’s going on here? For three years now I’ve come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?’

“The gardener said, ‘Let’s give it another year. I’ll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn’t, then chop it down.’”

We are often so quick to yell, “Cut it down!” and judge ourselves when we aren’t “healing fast enough”. Which leads to “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not smart enough.”… and so on.

What does it take to grow a fruitful tree? A patient Gardener. Willing to prune and dig into the deep weeds that are inhibiting the trees growth, pulling them out to see.

God is our great Gardener. He gets down and dirty, digging deep into the earth revealing to us the weeds that are cutting off the nutrients to our souls. Showing us parts of our lives that need pruning. He provides us with the fertilizer to help us grow: counseling, community, medication, books, journaling, prayer, grace, truth, etc. But even as He tends to our souls our growth takes time. Just as a tree takes time to grow and bear fruit, it takes us time to grow and receive that fruits of the spirit.

Dr. Henry Cloud calls this redemptive time in his book Changes that Heal. Until we are willing to pull out the weeds and acknowledge them in our present time they will continue to grow deeper and deeper into our souls. Preventing the fertilizers in our lives to enter and help us in bearing fruit. When we do acknowledge the weeds in our life, bringing them into the present without judgment and condemnation, it allows for those fertilizers to reach our soul. Weeds (sometimes the same ones) will continue to grow trying to cut off our fertilizers. But as we continue to pull them into the present we will see a difference in ourselves and who we are becoming.

The truth is there can be light in the darkness. We can be happy while also being sad. We can find joy even when depression is present. We can experience the good and the crappy all at the same time. Fearing the weeds in our lives will prevent us from experiencing the joy that God has designed for us.

What are the weeds in your life? What and who are your fertilizers? How can your fertilizers help you dig deep and pull them out and bring them into the present? 

Waves of Grief

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month and a half since my world was shaken. Since then it has been a rough journey, mostly feeling numb to everything around me. I don’t think I have been numbing the pain, I was in shock and the reality of the situation hadn’t hit me yet. But because of that feeling of numbness I know I wasn’t able to experience joy as I had been.
Then the waves of pain started to come. A song plays or I’m driving in my car and memories — fond memories — of her pop into my head. I embrace them, those moments have been gifts to me. While it’s difficult for me to experience these emotions, at least I am able to feel again and enjoy what I do have.

Here’s a portion of the book Praying Our Goodbyes by Joyce Rupp that helped me experience some of deep aching within me:

If you have ever said a deeply significant goodbye, you know what it is like to have life pelt you with sorrow, to be overwhelmed with emptiness, loneliness, confusion and sadness. At these times we are bent over, crushed. The pain is overwhelming, often too deep for tears.

The pain is overwhelming, often too deep for tears. How difficult yet comforting to hear.

Trail Runs, Injuries, and Bathtubs.

Throughout this year I have had several of my friends encourage me to start a blog.  Sharing my thoughts in a public forum. As someone who gets tongue tied in groups of more than two, this is a way I can share my thoughts in a comprehendible way. Writing also encourages me to observe my surroundings more: the shapes the clouds are forming, the books and blogs I’m reading, the people I encounter, my emotions I am experiencing. Taking in all that is being offered to me in this life and finding joy in those moments.

Recently, I went on a 4 mile trail run with a group of people. Having only reached 2 miles on my run the day before I was feeling doubtful about being able to survive the rocks, bends, curves, and sudden drops.
Good news: I loved the experience and ran the entire course without stopping.
Bad news: I rolled my ankle at the beginning, scraping my right knee in the process.

Once I tell myself I’m going to run something, I tend to get a little stubborn. It reminds me  of a particular 2 mile race in high school. It was snowing and all I had on were my tights and my track uniform.  My feet, hands, ears, and face were numb. We were about halfway through the run when I overheard a coach yell to one of his runners, who was right behind me, that I was losing steam. He was right, I was feeling fatigued. In that moment I decided I was going to beat this girl. I let her pass me and I followed her closely, pushing her to the last 100m. Once we reached that point I somehow found the willpower within myself to pass her.  One of my fastest two mile times that season.

The reason why I share this is because when I’ve decided I’m going to run something, I do it. Don’t care if there is rain, excessive heat, or if it is dark outside; especially when I’m running with others. I decided that fateful day I was going to run the entire 4 mile course and I wasn’t going to let a little blood stop me.  As a result, I caused a series of off-putting events, starting with my ankle sprain and scraped knee.

That night I drew a hot bath to soak my knee and clean the remainder of the dirt out. I got into the tub and as I stuck my knee into the water I felt the pain flood through my body and my clenched fists immediately went into the water. It was then that I realized I had my phone in my hand the entire time.

I did what I could for the phone but found out today that it will not charge. I dug out my old Blackberry and had AT&T dude reactivate it to use until Apple announces their new phone on Tuesday. Apparently AT&T dude did not know what he was doing because my Blackberry did not get reactivated and my iPhone is still going with the little battery it has left. Now, I have no phone and possibly no contacts since AT&T dude replaced my SIM card in my Blackberry.

Needless to say, the past few days have not gone according to plan and I have had to adjust my schedule quite a bit. Not something I’m too fond of.
Strangely, I haven’t missed my phone much. I have no problem with no one being able to reach me and have realized just how much I do not need my phone. My injury has forced me to stop and take it easy for the weekend (again), although not running is driving me up the wall right now.  And finally, this all has resulted in me sitting down and actually getting this blog up and running.

Perhaps my series of off-putting events have been a blessing… A frustrating blessing.