Sometimes in Lent you give up something you didn’t mean to. One of my Lenten disciplines was to organize my email, moving everything into appropriate categories and out of my inbox. After much work, I only had a small amount left to do. In the midst of all of this, I was permanently deleting things that were no longer needed. I was so proud of myself. Unfortunately, pride goes before the fall.
In haste one day, I got rid of a host of “duplicate” emails, and was overjoyed to finally hit “delete forever” to 1300 bits of dead weight. I think I might have even done a fist pump in the air. Then, I went to one of my organized folders, only to find it was empty.
Frantically, I kept clicking around; the horror quickly mounted. The duplicates weren’t that at all. I still don’t understand why they are in that file, but the extras were really the originals. In my denial, I searched for how to retrieve my lost emails, only to see that it can’t be undone.
Then it got real. And – I had the overreaction – bellowing, “NO!” Then there was some crazy impulse to hide, which I didn’t do, but I did find it funny later. Oddly, I felt frozen in the midst of our first warm day of spring. “I shall never be able to do anything again. I shall just sit hear and stare at my computer, shaking my head in disbelief.”
With one look at my watch, I had the second wave of panic. In the next 30 minutes I needed to be in my car driving across town in order to give a speech for a women’s retreat! What? Don’t they know that I just lost 1300 emails?
Then Luke and Jesus hit me over the head: “Then He said to the crowd, ‘Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.’” Luke 12:15
Losing emails doesn’t mean that I don’t have to work for the Kingdom. My loss should really be His gain. Hey – this must be one of those moments where I can offer it up! And so I am. My focus has changed.
In one of the most recent lost emails I heard that my childhood friend Jane had died. When I was little, I wanted her straight hair, and her red go-go boots. Now all I wanted was her courage. She suffered two years with a brain tumor, left a loving husband, and two daughters.
There is a humility in having to ask others for the details lost in the big deletion, but I try to make that small act a prayer – offering everything for the repose of the soul of Jane, and for the intentions of her family.