The Spinning Pinwheel of Death

The spinning pinwheel of death, or the flipping hourglass of death. The blue screen of death. The little square Macintosh face frowning. And honestly, I don’t remember what it was on the first computer I ever encountered – a Radio Shack TRS-80 complete with programs accessed on cassette tape.
And then, either by choice or not, the words “system shutting down.” Rebooting, restoring, restarting – whatever nice term we put on it, it still brings that feeling of wanting to grab something heavy and show our little electronic pal some REAL rebooting. With a size 12 boot.
That level of frustration even hits the pros sometimes… my wife has been known to argue – loudly – with a given piece of technology when it dumps in her Froot Loops. Granted, she does it from a higher plain of knowledge, so she can curse at the thing in binary, but still – she gets frustrated too. Pinwheels are no respecters of persons or professions.
Then we get a new computer, a new operating system, a new mobile device. Joy! Rapture! Maybe this one will keep going and not leave me weeping in technology purgatory.
Or maybe it won’t.
Probably.
Unless it’s an Apple, of course.
(Yes, that was both sarcasm and gentle humor wrapped up in one little phrase. Thanks for noticing.)
“Is there a point to this, other than once again igniting the Apple / Microsoft feud where the only winners are the Linux people, smiling smugly?”
Yes there is. Thanks for getting me back on track.
I have a new system. Let’s call it DS-2010. Installed March 30th, 2010, it’s a sleek new operating system and keeps getting smaller all the time. Right now, it’s lost around 180 pounds of excess code, and everything is running just dandy.
And yet, the spinning pinwheel of death shows up from time to time. I’ve noticed it lately as I’ve been working the oh-my-heavens-it’s-way-honkin’-early shift. I get started around 5am, get done around 10am, and if I’m not careful, the pinwheel appears and I get the message:
System shutting down.
Now, a brief pause between dawn patrol and the rest of my day is alright – some time to regroup, get in a little protein, and saddle up for the rest of the day. Sometimes it’s a literal saddle – hitting the trike for a trail ride, but whatever the case, I do have things to get on with.
But if I let my guard down, lose momentum, relax too much, ooh – pretty spinning pinwheel! And I’m done, either snoozing, watching something I’ve seen a few dozen times on Netflix, or staring off into space, lamenting that I really should get up and do something. Once the pinwheel starts to spin, the system is headed for shutdown and I’m a chair jockey for the rest of the day.
Normal folks can take a brief pause without having it take out the rest of the day. I’ve never, EVER been accused of being normal.
What does this mean for my walk of faith? How often does God call me, direct me, guide me, only to see me staring at a spinning pinwheel, shutting down, oblivious to everything around me? Deaf and blind to His call, while telling myself to just “relax.”
I guess you’re never too old to learn the balance between moving and relaxing, doing and being, productivity and reflection. Pausing and listening to the Spirit, and then moving in harmony with the Father’s will.

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