A Voice In The Desert
I lost my job in January. The church was going through some financial difficulty and they just couldn’t afford to keep us. I knew it was coming, but nothing could have prepared me for the emotional roller coaster that the last few months have been. There have been days I’ve wanted to lay in bed all day. There have been days I’ve sat at my desk and just stared at the monitor and cried. It’s been almost fifty days since I’ve touched a piano and I’m losing my mind. I need an outlet, but I don’t have one. Sooner or later, I’m worried the bottle is going to explode.
Lately, I’ve felt that I should take this season of rest to help direct and engage fundraising for Team Mackie. Mackie (Mackenzie) is my best friend’s son. He was born blind in both eyes with a condition called PFVS. I won’t tell the whole story because this blog post is about something else, but Mackie needs treatment in the States, OHIP is not going to cover it, and we need to raise somewhere between fifty and a hundred thousand dollars. We’ve got a lotta work ahead of us, and there are days I sit in front of the computer all day and do nothing but knock on virtual doors and organize things. My fingers have “told” the story of Mackenzie so many times, I think they could do it without the conscious help of my brain.
Needless to say… organizing an event of this magnitude has not been success after success after success. There have been roadblocks. There have been frustrations. There have been times I wanted to whip a cat off a fourth storey balcony to see if they bounce. (Don’t worry, they’re all still here.) Coupled with the frustration and depression of losing my dream job (not to mention living in this apartment complex) — let’s just say my blood pressure has been at an all time high and leave it at that. But this is the task I’ve chosen, I’m committed to it, and I’ll do whatever I have to. It’s that simple. I’m in for the long haul.
I think last night was the last straw in the string of misfortunes lately. (And I could tell you about this “string” for a very long time.) I had left a backup running on my computer, and my wife and I stepped out. The files being backed up were my music collection, which is one of my most prized possessions. It covers a little over thirty gigabytes. Back when I had my office, I had triple-redundant backups — because I had the resources to pull it off and because this data means that much to me. Music is my life. We got home from stepping out and a particular cat of ours who shall not be named, had slept on my laptop keyboard the whole time we were gone. She must have pushed a lot of keys in the course of settling down, because the source files, the destination files, and Windows itself were all corrupted. And the only backup I had, I had deleted off the external drive to make room for the new one. I was up fighting with the computer until about 1 am this morning, trying to get the laptop into a stable operating state. I did not succeed. I had to reformat the computer and — in the process — lose all the music. I cried a lot. I’ve been building that collection for as long as the mp3 file format has existed. And that’s close to twenty years. As I sat here and watched the one-touch-restore on my laptop obliterate all of my data, my gaze turned slightly to the left and then, my head tilted sideways to ponder the thought that had just entered. My iPad is a 64 gig iPad. It has all my music on it. But iTunes doesn’t let you sync both ways, except to a limited extent for purchased content. None of my content was purchased. I scoured the web for another hour thinking somebody must have been stuck in this situation before. And sure enough, I found a program called SharePod that — after being allowed to run for a couple of hours — recovered every last bit of lost data from my iPad. I went to bed relieved. All my other data was backed up or could be replaced. I had my music back. My heart was beating again. It felt like the winds were starting to change.
Today was a day of running around. We scored a major victory in the morning in planning the logistics of the concert and silent auction, and so my wife and I decided to go out for lunch. We had other errands to run anyway, and our favourite restaurant was “on the flight path” anyway.
We had lunch. It was tasty. (It’s always tasty.) And we went back to the car. Jillian had to make a detour before she got to the car. I went out, sat down, plugged my phone into the car charger, and dropped it into the cup holder where I usually leave it when I’m driving, and I started the car.
Much to my amazement, my locked phone began to speak. Audibly. In English. Jillian was getting into the car at this point and it was on the main street of Oshawa so there was a lot of background noise. At first I thought it was the navigation application, but as I strained to hear it, I could make out some familiar words. I filed a couple of the phrases away mentally with the intent to do some look-up later. But when I picked up the phone to see what application was ‘speaking” to me, it stopped, and there was nothing there but the Android home screen. When I opened the task-switcher, there were no applications open. Weird.
A while later we were stopped at a grocery store and I was alone in the car with my phone charged and ready. I started to Google the phrases I was pretty sure were from the Old Testament. And they were. They were from the 43rd chapter of Isaiah.
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Ok. So my spirit received the message, but my brain was still trying to explain it. I went from application to application to application on my phone trying to find one that either had this passage as “the verse of the day” or even just a Bible application that had been left open in Isaiah. Of the ones I found that spoke… none of them had the same voice that I heard earlier in the day in the car.
I’m not a hyper-spiritual “spookernatural” kind of person.
But this was real.
Wow. Just wow.