Friday, May 25, 2012

Broken and Disabled Computers: The Story of "H"

I depend on my computer.  It stores my ideas and projects.  It allows me to access an infinite storehouse of information, so much information that I can never process it all.   But it is there, and that gives me comfort.

I use my computer every day.  For all kinds of reasons.

I thought that when the semester ended, I would start blogging again, but alas, my computer is broken.  The keyboard doesn't respond in a way that allows me to take joy in the rhythm of clacking keys.  That rhythm generates ideas and inspires me to keep typing.

It all started at the beginning of April with a sticky "h."  After a few days, "y" and "m" also stopped responding appropriately.  Sometimes typing these keys resulted in no response, and sometimes I ended up with multiple characters. I posted this on FB, and my post contained several "y's" and missing "h's."  This made friends laugh, and they also gave suggestions.  As a result, I popped the offending keys off and put them back on.  It didn't help.  Then a friend give me a can of "air" to spray underneath the keys.  That worked for a few weeks, and then my "h" key started falling off.  I put it back on, several times an hour, and then I couldn't get it on at all.  Now I push on the un-key. Sometimes.  But mostly I copy an "h" somewhere and then press "Control-V" to copy it onto the page.

It's not just the "h."  My down arrow became inconsistently unresponsive well over two months ago.  I just thought perhaps I had forgotten how to navigate a web page.  I realized it was more than that when my "a" key tried the same tricks.

I am a speed typist.  This is frustrating.  Unresponsive keyboards take the joy out of typing and writing and putting my ideas down on paper.  Okay, it's not paper, but it feels like it.

I knew it needed to get the computer fixed, but I couldn't send it away during the semester.  I needed it too much.

I hate it when things don't work the way they should.  It just slows down everything.

Did I mention that my computer itself is significantly slower than it should be? I have to wait for web pages to load, and Word keeps shutting down for no good reason.

Yes.  I feel like I am going crazy.

At the same time, I am essentially unemployed right now, earning no money.  I have one tentative contract signed for the fall and two possible jobs for summer.  I am living in limbo-land, and  I really hate that.  I'm fairly certain everything will line up eventually, and my computer will get a new keyboard next week, but in the meantime I'm copy-pasting "h's."

I told Duane on Tuesday that I was kind of in a funk.  The computer, the uncertainty, unemployment . . .   Trusting God is just hard.  I like to see things lined up on a computer.  It makes me feel better.

Life as an adjunct is all about living on the edge, trusting God to provide jobs.  And I'm just not good at that.    Maybe someday I will be.  I don't know.

Duane said he would pray.

On Wednesday morning, I emailed the department chair at San Diego Christian College. I interviewed with him about a month ago and thought it went well, but I still didn't have a formal offer.  I let him know that community colleges were asking about my availability.  Ten minutes later he emailed me to let me know that a job offer was definitely coming.  Thirty minutes after that, I got a call from HR.

Thirty minutes after that, I got an email from Mesa College with a job offer.  I need five classes, but it's May and I have three.  The others will fill in.

An hour later, I heard from my possible summer job at College of Extended Studies.  I'm still waiting for specifics on that one, but it's a little easier to trust when I can see something.

And there's the irony.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Perhaps someday I can rest in God's faithfulness.  Perhaps someday I will trust Him more completely.  Perhaps someday broken keyboards won't sap my joy, and uncertain schedules and incomes won't put me into a funk.

Embracing Mystery

My greatest sin is the same sin as Eve's sin.

I want to know everything.  I want to understand everything.  I want to life to make sense.  I want to know how stories end.  I want to know what will happen next.  And I want to know why.

Uncertainty makes me crazy.  I get anxious.  I hear, "Trust God" in the recesses of my mind, and I try, but I don't.

And I hear God asking me to embrace His mysteries, to embrace the unknown.  It's hard for me.  I want to predict what He will do next.  I want to figure Him out.  I want to understand Him and explain Him.  And the more I try, the more frustrated I am.  His paths are beyond tracing out. 

I've been reading Leonard Sweet's What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person.  In this book, Sweet focuses on our faith as a living relationship with a God who loves us, a relationship we will never fully have a handle on, a relationship that demands we enter into other relationships as well, the relationships that matter to God.

We must enter into relationships with the people God has relationship with.  And people he loves but does not have relationship with.

We must enter into relationship with created things.

It all matters.

It is a mystery.  We do not understand; we cannot understand.  And that is okay.  It's better than okay.  It's good.

Sweet writes:
Being a Christian is more about relationship with God than believes about God; more about the presence of God than the proofs of God; more about intimacy with truth than the tenets of truth; more about knowing God's activities than knowing God's attributes.  It is time to move from a religion that seeks to comprehend God to a relationship that seeks to encounter and be a home for God--to move from points to propositions and moralisms to mystery and paradox and participation in the divine life.
Relationships only stay alive by retaining the mystery.  Once something is fully known, it dies.  Relationships need strangeness and unpredictability.  It's the same with our relationship with God.  All relationships are dances of communication and concealment.  
Anyone who talks about God doesn't know what he or she is talking about.  God is another name for mystery.  
Moses to God: What is your name?
God to Moses: I will be what I will be. 
Moses spoke to God face-to-face, "as one speaks to a friend."  But Moses wanted something more than God's face.  Moses wanted God's mind.  Moses wanted more than just seeing and experiencing God.  Moses wanted to go into the mind of God.
And God said no because ultimately God is unknowable.  If we knew everything, we would no longer be strugglers with God.  Until the day we will see God face to face, we will only know "in part" and at best through a glass dimly.  Until then, we will never know all that we want to know.  We will never understand all that we want to understand.  
The paradoxical nature of biblical truth, where the relationships between opposite extremes is the essence of truth, should make Christians quite at home with contradictions and contritions.  
I must embrace mysteries.  I must be okay with a God who is bigger than my intellect, who does not answer all my questions. I must be okay with struggling with God, with blurry vision, so to speak.  This is the essence of faith.