My computer died. I sat there and looked at it. It was cold, the screen was dark. I pushed buttons, I talked to it, I prayed. I called my computer genius husband who had to work late at the office, but he said, “Things can be done.” This is how geniuses talk.
“What things?” I screamed.
I sat with it on my lap. I was supposed to write a blog post for the launch of my new novel, Soar. I had a first draft of it, a good draft, On The Dead Computer. There were a zillion other things I needed On The Dead Computer. I got out a yellow pad and began to write my blog post. Need I tell you that nothing came? The only thing that kept invading my brain was a story that’s always inspired me, but I wasn’t interested in being inspired. I was interested in feeling colossally sorry for myself and miserable.
The memory of the story kept coming. The great violinist Paganini had a sold-out concert to play and he had left his Stradivarius violin on a stand off stage. When the concert began and he was introduced, he went to get his violin, but found another, a scratched, cheap one in place of his priceless Stradivarius. Moments passed. He was needed on stage. The great master took the used instrument, marched on the stage and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I will now show you that music doesn’t come from the instrument, it comes from the soul,” and he played that nothing violin until the audience rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.
I shook my computer. Nothing. I looked at my yellow pad. Nothing there either. I thought of all the people I’d known who picked up broken things and turned them into wholeness and beauty. I thought of people facing catastrophic loss after floods, fires, and hurricanes…who picked up the one thing in the rubble that was recognizable and went on rebuilding their lives. I thought of my great grandfather, a carpenter who carved beautiful wooden church altars, only to have a fire sweep through his little town in North Dakota, and everything was lost. Everything. But he moved his family to Illinois to begin again.
Back to my laptop. How much did I have on this machine? Was my back-up working? I pressed buttons, waited. Nothing. I tried again. This time…a small, faint arrow appeared on the screen.
Come on, baby.
Slowly, agonizingly the black screen bled into blue, my icons popped into place, the mouse moved. Yes! I thought about looking for that draft of the blog post, but instead I want to share these thoughts. There’s so much to celebrate in this rough and scary world. Here’s to the ones who keep going when everything around them says don’t. Here’s to all of you who just won’t quit.
***Soar, my thirteenth novel, goes on sale today.
***I first learned of the Paganini story in a beloved book that my grandmother kept by her bedside: Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, published by Zondervan.