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.