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Posts Tagged ‘laptops’

We have almost reached a milestone moment in our family. Very soon, our second car, which mostly I drive, will be pensioned off. I thought I wouldn’t mind saying farewell to my faithful, old chariot, yet it has become like an old friend to me, after owning it for over twenty years. In that time, it has travelled around 270,000 kilometres in Sydney and country areas, as well as interstate. And it is still eminently drivable, so much so that we recently lent it to a friend, until she could get her own car.

We bought our Ford Fairmont second-hand in 2000—it was only eighteen months old and had been well cared for. However, when we took it home, it refused to fit fully in our small garage. As a result, over the years, its lovely, shiny, maroon paint faded on the boot and nearby areas, leaving it looking more than a little battered. On top of that, my faithful, old car has recently developed some quirky characteristics. The remote key does not work anymore. The bonnet now refuses to open, except by force. The driver’s window may wind down, then refuse to wind up. Or it may even go down further—or perhaps up, when it’s good and ready. Who knows? Yet through it all, the car itself keeps purring along beautifully—and I particularly love the way it can tackle any steep inclines with ease.

In the last thirteen years, during my writing and speaking journey, my car has taken me on all sorts of adventures. Many times, I have packed my books into its roomy boot, along with my laptop and other paraphernalia, and set off for some event, wondering what lay ahead. Would many people turn up? Would my audience be interested in what I shared? Would I sell any books? At times too, I wondered if I would even find where I was to speak, but somehow, I always got there. Of course, my car does not have GPS, so I have relied on printed maps—or, in desperation, my phone. Yes, my faithful, old car holds many emotion-filled memories for me.

Yet recently, as I looked at its battered appearance and recollected its funny quirks, I sensed it also had something to teach me—and perhaps all of us. We too may have developed some funny quirks along the way. We may look a little more battered and worn that we used to—I know I do! We may even refuse to do certain things anymore, just like my old car. But we still have so much to offer. We can look back on all the years during which God has been with us and guided us and taught us. And from that experience, we can still share the love and grace of God with others, however we are gifted and whatever our age.

At the end of my life, I hope, like my car, I can be called ‘old faithful’. I hope I can still say honestly, when that day comes:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

Is that your desire too? Let’s all stay strong in the battle. Let’s finish well. And, above all, let’s keep believing in our amazingly faithful God.

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Jo 17Have you ever come across those children’s activity sheets where you can colour in a small picture, then cut it out and put it in the oven, where it soon shrinks and hardens? Or maybe you did as our children liked to do at one stage and put certain empty potato crisp packets in the oven until they shrank to a tiny size. What fun!

Or perhaps, like me, you might have washed a particular jumper yourself rather than have it dry-cleaned, as the label said. Alas, even though I used mild soap powder and dried it flat, somehow it has never looked the same and tends to creep up my back a little!

In this isolation time, however, most of us are experiencing a different and much more serious kind of shrinking. Many are working from home instead of going to an actual place of employment each day—and many do not even have a job to go to each day now anyway. We all cannot do some things we took for granted and loved doing. We cannot go to some of the places we liked to go or see the people we enjoyed seeing. We may not be able to travel interstate here in Australia—or even more than a few kilometres from home, in some instances. It’s like our world has physically shrunk around us. And that can feel weird and disorienting—not to mention depressing or even perhaps quite devastating.

Yes, most of us have the ability to connect electronically with others at a distance via phones, tablets, Ipads, laptops and desktops, which is wonderful. As well, most of us are blessed to be able to watch TV shows and movies or listen to radio or read books that broaden our world in some way. Yet all that does not seem quite as satisfying as going and doing something ourselves or connecting with people face to face, does it? At times, it can feel as if we are watching the world through a window or merely looking on at life, rather than participating in a meaningful way.

So what’s to be done? Somehow, in the midst of dealing with this shrinking feeling in our lives and trying to abide by the ever-changing COVID isolation rules, we all need to find a way of stepping back to ‘take a long view’, as Bishop Oscar Romero once wrote, of keeping the bigger picture in mind and of holding onto hope for our worlds to enlarge again soon.

But beyond all that, let’s remember this difficult period is only a moment in time, when compared with eternity. And God will see us through it all and on into that same eternity. God has not shrunk in any way. God is still high and holy, almighty, all-knowing and all-seeing, but so loving and caring and understanding too. So, however weird our shrinking worlds might feel, may we remember to keep looking to the Lord for our strength and to keep praising our great and awesome God with all our hearts!

Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:3-4

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Jo 23Things have changed a little on the communication front since our children were young. Back then, we did not even have a home phone—or a TV until our oldest child was eight. And there were certainly no mobile phones or computers around. Instead, we read, enjoyed music and played games. And I also wrote many long letters, particularly to the grandparents interstate.

But the other day, within the space of a few hours, I accessed several means of communication that are now commonplace. I began by emailing on my laptop. Then I checked my Facebook posts. Next, I wrote and scheduled my weekly online blog. Soon after, my mobile rang—and it was a friend who lives in another town wanting to talk, as her husband is ill. Later, she put me on speaker phone so her husband could also hear, as I prayed for them both.

That afternoon, I sat at my laptop and ‘attended’ a friend’s funeral, livestreamed from a chapel in a cemetery on the other side of Sydney. No, it was not the same as being present, but at least I could join in to some degree as those close to him said goodbye to our friend.

Not long after, I managed to turn up at a family birthday party via Zoom—that day, our oldest granddaughter turned seventeen. This was a new experience for me, but how amazing to be able to see all our family members in their respective homes and to chat to one another! We  tried, with mixed success, to sing Happy Birthday together, as the candles were lit, then watched longingly as our granddaughters consumed that enticing looking ice cream cake right before our eyes!

Two days later, we ‘attended’ our church’s online service, pre-recorded and available on YouTube, which we watched on our TV in the comfort of our lounge. Then I accessed another service being livestreamed from a friend’s church. This past week too, I talked with another friend whose son’s recent wedding was livestreamed to all the wedding guests elsewhere, including interstate and overseas, then later enjoyed seeing the wedding photos sent to my mobile.

I am so glad we have all these wonderful means of communication in this time of isolation in particular. But some do take a bit of getting used to—and not everyone has a tech-savvy husband nearby like I do who can rescue me! Yet however much knowledge we have, sometimes those connections just do not work, do they? Sometimes, the mobile phone or Skype or Zoom reception can be poor in our area. Or sometimes, the person we wish to contact is simply unavailable.

And that’s why, as I sit quietly reading my Bible and talking with God, I am so grateful God is always there and always accessible, always listening and always ready to respond in love. No technical devices are needed. Instead, we can communicate heart to heart and spirit to Spirit with our loving Lord, wherever we are and whatever is happening around us. Surely, nothing can be more amazing than that?

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfils the desires of those who fear him. He hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:18-19

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