It seemed like my worst nightmare. 2 weeks ago my printer port stopped working. My hard drive was fine. I just couldn’t print anything out, which is an equally frustrating problem. After calling a customer service representative in India to arrange sending my computer to an IBM service center in Tennessee, reality set in. I would be without my computer for 5-7 days.
I am admittedly not a techy person. However, I have become so dependent on my computer that I even take it on vacation. How can I survive without checking my email for a week? What will others think when I don’t reply to them within a few days? How will I make notes of conversations and meetings?
Gary and I made a futile last ditch trip to Best Buy to see if there were any other solutions. At the customer service desk, I was confronted with a big sign: GEEK SQUAD: Data Backup Guide – because your life is on your hard drive. My panic intensified. What if my data disappears, too? What if I lose everything?? What will I do??? Who will I be???? My life is over for the next week.
I spent the weekend pondering the sign. Is my life really on my hard drive? If so, what does that say about me? Am I enslaved to my computer? Is my life simply data? A few days later I was in a covenant group at an area ministry team gathering. When I shared the struggle of my computer anxiety, someone said, “The question really isn’t what is on our hard drive. It’s what is on our heart drive.”
In the end, our identity is not found in the files stored on our computer. It’s found in the image of God, which resides in each one of our hearts. Our health and wholeness is defined by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which empowers us to embody the qualities of compassion, peace, forgiveness, generosity, grace and hope.
While my computer was being fixed in Memphis, two heart drives were making the news. The Indianapolis Colts won the Superbowl. The sweetest story of the event was the personality and character of the first two African-American coaches in the Superbowl, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, who was a protégé of Dungy. Many people believe that coaches can only succeed by intimidation, threats, coercion, swearing and other attention-seeking behaviors. In contrast, Dungy’s clearly-stated priorities have always been God, family and football.
Dungy’s compassionate coaching style has cost him jobs over the years, and some have felt uncomfortable with the openness of his Christian faith. Even though Dungy has a hard drive to succeed on the football field, the love in his heart drive comes first. Dungy is a wonderful example of a man who lives his faith through respect, collaboration, centeredness and commitment to values of the heart.
While my computer was being fixed in Memphis, two hard drives were also making the news. A respected NASA astronaut, Lisa Nowak, was accused of attempted murder after driving 900 miles from Houston to Florida to allegedly attack a woman Nowak perceived to be a rival for another astronaut’s affection. A hard drive gone wild. A few days later, 39 year old Anna Nicole Smith, ex-stripper, Playboy Playmate, abuser of drugs and alcohol, E! television host, tabloid fodder, and mother who lost a son to drug abuse just after giving birth to another child, died alone in a Florida hotel room. Two women living lives from their hard drives rather than their heart drives.
My computer finally returned from Memphis, good as new. My hard drive is intact, and I’m back on line. Remarkably, my life did not stop while my hard drive was inaccessible. I pondered scripture, made phone calls, visited churches, attended a cabinet meeting, got lost in a novel, laughed, cried, hoped and dreamed. My heart swelled with pride for both Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, and my heart broke to read about the pain in the lives of Lisa Nowak and Anna Nicole Smith.
Rather than panic when my hard drive is not working, I hope that in the future I will panic when my heart becomes cold, unforgiving and indifferent. Rather than believe that my life consists of data and saved files, I hope that in the future I will claim my identity in Jesus Christ. Rather than mope around when I can’t get on line, I hope that in the future, I will get a life and look outside myself to see the needs of those around me. Rather than define myself by the hard values of wealth, power or influence, in the future I hope to define myself by the heart values embodied by disciples of Jesus Christ. Rather than be a slave to IBM, I hope to be a child of God.
What is your life these days? In your hard drive or your heart drive?