Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lessons from a Printer

“Chloe, the printer’s not working again.” Her frustration and helplessness mount. Why, all of a sudden, won’t it cooperate? Maybe it’s her computer, that Macbook. But my computer still works to print, so there must be something wrong with her machine. The urgency abates, and we can limp through this problem.

Then, the “reliable” PC won’t work. The typical dialog boxes evade my screen, and an impotent stranger flashes unhelpful information when I order a print job. It’s like talking to a recording: no logic, no relationship, no help, and no sense of timing— I can’t stand here like an idiot day after day, waiting for a solution from an uncooperative machine. This silent treatment grates me.

I pull cords, turn off power, start it up again . . . nothing.

I uninstall the nearly-full cartridge, and switch it for a refilled one . . . nothing.

I wipe the cartridge openings with glass cleaner to remove sediments or dried ink . . . nothing.

Finally, I plop the whole works into an empty apple box and haul it to the store. Surely the associates will have answers, or even suggestions, to help me out. When I ask, I am told they are not registered to do maintenance work on this brand. I’d have to call the manufacturer about the warranty. Great: more communication with machines.

Pulsing between aggravation, defeat, and abandon with the menace, I bring it home again. I try to ignore the problem, but we both know we can’t live this way. I hate this helplessness, this mounting frustration, this emerging reality of no way out and no happy ending.

So, I vent to Dad in a bullet-point e-mail list. I don’t care if he can’t help. I just want someone bigger than me to know I’m miserable. He sends back a message of radical reality:Are you selecting the proper printer as we installed my HP when you were home when we worked on the Quicken books.”

Installing the farm printer made it the preferred machine, showing up first in the queue. Hence, the strange dialog boxes and un-received signals.

Can it really be that simple? I change the settings. I order a print job. I hear the machine grunting, digesting paper. It spews out a beautiful printed page.

I’m deflated, relieved, exhilarated all at once.

What do I learn from this?

Stupidity is trying the same things over and over, expecting different results.

Specific rules govern the process of problem-solving: following the rules leads to the solution. Fixing the wrong problem does not help.

Confession ushers in the best results. Pouting keeps me boorish and isolated from help.

Joy comes in relationship—being willing to die to the pride and fear that bind us in hopeless seclusion.

Hope becomes reality when I realize there is Someone Bigger than me Who knows . . . and cares . . . that I am miserable. And He can abate the cause of my misery.

Isn’t this the Gospel? That we failed, and God did not, and He came, and He rescued us?

So God, open my eyes to see You Gospel-ing me every day, because where You are is life, where You reign is peace, and where You rescue is joy.

1 comment:

Norfords' Ramblings said...

Selecting the right printer gives results.
Helps too, to select the right God!

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