Found Jesus in my Antivirus

Today was an extremely stressful day ... all those tasks that had been building and building had me in a fit of pique. I had fully prepared to spend the day at a clergy meeting, tapping my foot nervously while little motes of unfinished business bounced around in my head. One of my fellow clergy knows how much I abhor these gatherings--especially when they tend toward the meaningless (read: when they involve guided meditation)--and we usually share a knowing nod across the room.

Then a series of unfortunate events conspired to keep me out of the meeting. I dealt with the emergencies and settled down at my desk. It was only 11:00, and I had the rest of the day to shred my to-do list.

Then my wife called and I was short with her because I wanted to get to work.

Then the requisite phone calls and drop-ins from people with termination notices on their utilities (their "light bill," or as we pronounce it in the South, "laaat biyull.")

Then a parishioner walked in and we chatted, and just as the chat was coming to an end, another parishioner walked in, and ... well, you get the picture. I love visiting and chatting (most of my friends think I talk too much), but by now I was praying somebody would pull the fire alarm.

Finally, at noon, I opened up the laptop and settled in to an afternoon of newsletter writing, thank-you notes, and long-overdue phone calls. Suddenly, I started getting warnings from my Antivirus--something's not working properly. I try all the usual simple solutions (yelling, swearing), then restart, then more warnings continue to interrupt my work. Norton isn't going to be happy until I do something through tech support. By this time, I am moving around my office in an imitation of Steve Martin in All of Me.

So, in exasperation, I log onto the company's website, and after finding my way through the virtual red tape, I find myself chatting online with Kumar, a live tech-support guru. (I resisted the temptation to ask after Harold). I explained my problem (I could imagine Kumar nodding seriously), and he asked if he could take remote control of my computer.

Let Kumar into my laptop? I'd sooner let Hannibal Lecter rock my infant son to sleep! My laptop is sacred space--8 years of sermons; years of personal journal entries; notes on pastoral meetings and contacts. Not to mention some personal things--I don't want just anybody to know that I was window-shopping at Amazon, pondering buying a biography of Che Guevara, previewing the new Portishead album, or looking for a used copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide! Lord knows what kind of government watch-list I might wind up on! And I was honestly googling Katee Sackhoff because I wanted to see what other movies she had been in--I wasn't trying to see her naked--honest!

Of course, the demands of my to-do list, and my Irish pig-headedness (or is it my German pig-headedness?), in the end, forced me to accept.

I watched in amazement as my mouse cursor was wrested from my hands. Kumar was in control, and all of my bytes and files and history were wide open. Honestly, I hadn't felt this vulnerable since we started having to take showers in gym class in 7th grade. (and I wasn't the earliest of bloomers).

I needn't have worried. My cursor flew around the screen and windows and taskbars flashed before my eyes. (Picture Scotty in Star Trek: "Use the keyboard? How quaint!") After 5 minutes of watching an expert work, I was typing my profuse thanks in the chatbox.

Finally, back to work.

Now what was I supposed to be doing again?

I'm sure that there is a sermon in this. Not that I'm ever going to preach it. (Can you imagine the greeting line after church? Some sweet old lady asking, "What's a Portishead?") This was purely a lesson for me and the two other people that read this blog.

I'm pretty sure that this entire incident had everything to do with the control I pretend to wrest from God on a daily basis. I lie to myself, pretending God can't see (or doesn't care about) the minute, most private details of my life. God doesn't care about my sins, and His compassion only extends to my public, priestly, persona. I tell myself I'm doing a much better job controlling things on my own. (When, in reality, I am seriously in need of a spiritual LiveUpdate).

It didn't take much for me to let Kumar onto my computer. Why, then, do I fight so hard against letting God into my life?

Of course, God isn't going to fix all of my problems in 5 minutes. (It'll likely take the rest of my life). What would God do with me if I just let go?

Disclaimer: Yeah, I know this is trite. It's also full of exaggeration. I don't swear in the office. I don't storm around jerkily like Steve Martin when things don't go my way. I don't ever get short with my wife. And I don't own a used copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide. (It's still in the mail).