I am a control freak.
I’ve noticed when people say this they tend to almost be giving themselves a little pat on the back. They say it in the, “Oh, yes, I am a control freak” self deprecating voice but there seems to be a hint of pride. Sort of like, “Of course, I am a control freak. Look at me, look at how well I do things, look at how clean my house is, look at my “I see skies of blue” kind of life. Of course, I am in control. I know this is often the intent behind those words because, pathetically, I have often been the one saying them.
Here is how my lesson began. This week has been a very busy week for my book, Even in Darcey. We are starting a new media push of sorts and in the process I have been doing lots of on-line research and also updating a bunch of old files. Well, about four hours into the process in waltzes Murphy’s Law and down goes my computer. Now, not totally down, just part way down, the down where it starts taking 11 seconds for a page to load and you start getting that ‘would you like to send an error report’ message which, of course, I ignore and delete. That’s how it all began. Now, if when this started to occur I would have just called the local computer guru and taken it into his store the rest of the problem may have been averted. Nope, not what I did. Instead I, having absolutely no computer knowledge, began trying to fix it. Result – the computer went all the way down, the unable to access all files down, quickly proceeded by the black screen down. Down, down, down and down. This is very bad, especially for a writer who has all of her manuscripts and contacts on the computer. Yes, I know, I should always back up my work. Thank you.
Now, faced with no other options and starting to get a nervous tic, I call Mr. Computer and begin giving him all the details of my problem, the seeming hopelessness of the situation…he calmly tells me to just bring it right on into the shop. After pulling out the cords and stopping to blow the dust out of the computer fan (can’t let Mr. Computer Guy know there is dust in my house, what would he think??) I load it into the car and off I go. I arrive in the mall parking lot, park the car, and head for the computer store. Unfortunately, I walk in the wrong entrance and now must carry the thing all the way to the store. As one of my friends puts it, I’m down right scrawny and the computer is heavy. After taking two short breaks on mall benches I finally make it to the store and there is Mr. Computer Guy. When he sees me he gets up from his desk chair, comes to meet me, takes the computer from my hands, tips his head in greeting and gives me the half, closed lipped smile that seems to be a trademark of all technology geniuses.
With computer in hand he walks back to his desk and puts the computer down. All the while, I, the computer illiterate, am babbling about what I think caused it, what maybe will fix it, and how in the world will I ever live without it when all of a sudden Mr. Computer Guy turns to me, puts his hands up to about chest length and quietly and kindly says, “I got it.”
“What?” I ask.
“I got it.” he reassures.
“But all of my files are gone.”
“I got it.”
“But the screen went totally blank.”
“I got it.”
It begins to sink in a bit. “Really, you’ve got it?” I say with trepidation, hope, awe and relief.
“Yep, I’ve got it. I can fix it” he responds again with the trademark smile.
Well, relief is a phenomenal emotion! One of the best, I would say. So what do I do in my relief? I sit right down in Mr. Computer guys chair! I don’t even ask, I just sit right down into it, sink on in and even get a bit teary eye, so thrilled and calmed with the knowledge that he’s got it. I just sat right down and watched him go to work. Why not, after all, he’s got it. He’s in control. I don’t have to explain the issue, I don’t have to give him a run down of all the events that led up to the catastrophe, I just had to hand it to him and watch him work.
As he tinkered away I was struck by how happy and relaxed I felt. It was so good to know someone was on the case, someone who knew exactly what to do. I could just let it go, sit back, and swivel in his chair.
That night, with my computer tucked nicely back on my desk top, I realized the lesson of the day was more profound than the fixing of the computer. Mr. Computer Guy is a wiz but he pales in comparison to my God. How often in my inept control freakishness do I get my hands into things I have no business touching? How often do I fret and fear and try to apply my baby like knowledge in order to conjure up a solution? How many days have I spent carrying a problem around that is way to heavy for me? How absurd I must look to the universe as I stop at every other mall bench, exhausted under the weight of that day’s particular computer.
How often does my God say, “Jessica, I’ve got it. How often does He say, “My special, silly child, “Don’t you know, I’ve got it. Remember me, your God, the one who weighs the mountains on scales, the one who holds the dust of the earth in a basket (Isa 40:13), the one who formed light and created darkness and marshaled all the heavenly hosts (Isa 45)?
Even when you refuse to give it to me, I’ve still got it. My, child, sit down, swivel in my chair, watch me work. I’ve got it.”
What great relief! Oh, again, and again, I really want to live in it!