Saved and unsaved

It is a variation on that old question of what to save from the burning house. This morning, my middle cat, not the most grace-filled of creatures, landed unexpectedly in my cup of tea while I was working at my computer. As cat hair and tea streamed across the laptop, memories of good intentions to back up my files flashed before my mind’s eye. I swiftly inverted the device and prayed to the God who created gravity for a period of grace while I assessed the damage, and my options.

I grabbed a towel, a USB drive, my courage. Dressing gown still dripping tea (it’s Friday, don’t judge me), I knelt before my desk and peered up under the tented, open laptop. The screen was still lit. Gingerly, I mopped its sweaty keys, then pulled it towards me, sliding in the memory stick with one smooth motion. I hit “Folders.” The old, familiar list struck my gut: I had to save them!

There wasn’t room for them all. I cursed the self that had stopped learning to upload things to the cloud. I scanned the list. Some were old; they had come from other, broken down machines. They had survived once, on another drive; they could make it on their own. It was the newer ones, the babies that cried out to me. Recent submissions, polished proposals; and then, overshadowing all, the lumbering, impenetrable clump of folders labelled, “Work.”

I saved what I could, all the while marvelling at the clarity that comes rom a crisis: what elevates itself, which items demand mercy, and which choose martyrdom.

I am caught between two worlds: the paper and ink of my parents, the cloudy data of my children: saved and unsaved.

Suffrages B for a laptop in limbo

Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance:
Upload the photos of our children now and always.

Day by day we bless you:
Your data is everlasting.

Lord, keep our cats from all sin today:
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your login and password:
For we trust your cloud alone.

In you, Lord, are we saved:
And in you are we restored.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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