Have patience

It was the perfect storm.

Overnight on Friday, Microsoft provided an update to Windows 10.

When I powered off my computer that night I had a choice between updating and shutting down or updating and restarting. So I chose to update and shut down and I headed off to bed.

The next morning when I walked into my office it was clear the computer had shut down as commanded. I did feel some relief about that as I have had some experience with updating operating systems in the past and I know it doesn’t always go according to plan.

But I was just fooled by this one.

I pressed the button to boot up and it went nowhere. Well, it skipped over the expected booting and the updating and immediately started processing a repair. To make a long story somewhat shorter, the repair didn’t work nor did any of the options offered to me as a result. I couldn’t even restore the computer to an earlier point in time when it was working.

Having paid for something completely misnamed “Assure,” I called Microsoft, told them I had this additional coverage and needed their help. After two technicians and several hours provided no remedy, I was kicked up to “Tier 2” and told I would be called back on Sunday at noon.

We rushed home from church to be on hand when the phone rang.

No call.

I rushed through my weekly call to my brother and used another line so I wouldn’t miss the call.

No call.

Neither was there a call back at 2, 3:45, 6:15, 7:45 or 9:15 as various chat technicians told me on-line. Then I was told it would be Monday. But somewhere after I had waited for 10 hours for that call back, I was told they wouldn’t help me. Their “Assure” program proved to be ineffective. I was instructed to take the computer to my nearest Microsoft Store (a mere 75 miles away). It wasn’t a matter of going there, getting it fixed, and returning home with it. No. I would leave it and then return for it when it was fixed. But there was no assurance that it would be fixed.

So I said enough of that and hauled the tower to our nearby Office Depot and my friendly repair tech Tony. He heard my tale of woe and suggested that maybe, just maybe the hard drive was going bad. If that were the case, he thought he could retrieve all of my vital information, insert a new hard drive and give it back to me with as little agony as possible.

That’s what happened. I had a finely tuned working computer within 24 hours with a bill of about $200. A bargain, I figured, even if my “Assure” program had already cost close to that for the year and proved worthless.

Oh, and by the way, the Windows update also rendered our router obsolete so I found myself negotiating with Linksys for a new one. I was assured it would arrive on Sunday. By Monday it hadn’t even been shipped. Between Microsoft and Linksys I have a number of faceless nemeses with whom I have lost patience and have angered me.

But as anyone knows who has had to deal with something like this, while I was certain I had a working computer, I still had to take the time to reload all of those non-Microsoft programs that weren’t transferable. Everything from the simple iTunes and my preferred Firefox browser to the more intricate theological software with volume upon volume of academic books and research. It didn’t all go smoothly, even the simple stuff. There’s the issue of conjuring up all those passwords that had been saved to the old drive and were now available but harder to find. Then there’s the surprise that the old software I was using with great success had been changed and the companies were no longer supporting that which was running some of my hardware. Five days have passed and I’m still working on it.

I have to say that I’m thankful for $200 Tony (he didn’t make that much on the deal but he was worth it) just to get my email back up and running. But to think that I spent close to 20 hours total either waiting for Microsoft “Assurance” and Linksys customer support or trying to fix the issue myself (which I have done before), well, I was not only tired, but I had become short-tempered and extremely impatient. As I continue to re-establish all of my software, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel but my impatience has been aggravated into resignation. I’ve thought about how my dad used to do business and the high expectation of quality he offered his customers. Tony the Tech is the one ray of hope in all of this that there are still people who are sincerely interested and able to do the jobs they are assigned to do.

Could we have possibly known how much patience a marriage takes? Nobody ever told us. But we learned. This was May 23, 1981. [Photo copyrighted]

Could we have possibly known how much patience a marriage takes? Nobody ever told us. But we learned. This was May 23, 1981. [Photo copyrighted]

It may be an odd way to lead into sharing that Terry and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on Monday. That’s way short of those celebrating 45 and 50 and more, but in this day and age when folks tend to walk away from marriages because they have become impatient with the one they have vowed to love in sickness and in health it seems like something of an accomplishment for us. A few years ago I shared with my congregation that we were observing our 30th anniversary and upon leaving the sanctuary I was greeted by an older divorced woman who only muttered, “You’re not out of the woods yet.”

Terry and I talked about what it takes to stay married over the long haul. It’s not always easy. I’ve counseled dozens of couples, young and not-so-young, about those days that inevitably come when the romance seems to fade and patience wears thin.

Patience. I’ve been impatient with Terry and he’s been impatient with me. Over the years, however, we learn how not to be impatient; we’ve learned that patience is a virtue that is part and parcel of loving one another.

About 30 years ago we enjoyed hearing the children’s choir sing a song during worship about a snail named Herbert. The chorus went like this:

Have patience. Have patience.

Don’t be in such a hurry.

When you get impatient

You only start to worry.

Remember, remember

That God is patient too,

And think of all the times

That others had to wait for you.

Thirty-five years later. We still get impatient with each other sometimes, but more often than not our impatience just turns into gratefulness for one another (Photo copyrighted)

Thirty-five years later. We still get impatient with each other sometimes, but more often than not our impatience just turns into gratefulness for one another (Photo copyrighted)

Often it is in the waiting, the delays, the broken promises that we learn some of life’s greatest lessons. I suppose I should thank God for computer updates and obsolescence that lead to five and more days of time and money that could otherwise be well spent. I have to look hard to see what more I’ve learned about computers myself and new ways to work with them; and I can celebrate Tony the Tech who I have otherwise taken for granted.

Marriage is like that too and over the course of 35 years both Terry and I have had to look hard to see where the good outweighs the bad – and the good has always, always far outweighed the bad. But it takes patience to grow together, to grow up together, to grow old together.

I’m thankful that both of us have fought through the impatience and fallen back into the arms of God who brought us together in the first place. I’m thankful that we still can fall together into one another’s arms. And I’m thankful that we have to stop and think of all the times, like Herbert the snail, we’ve been responsible for making one another find patience.

Now if we could just stop the annual repetition of the same old conversation: “Where should we have our anniversary dinner?”

[With thanks to Kendra Woodburn Zuercher for helping me remember the words to the song about Herbert the Snail.]


8      The Lord is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. – Psalm 145:8


22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. – Galatians 5:22-23

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