Yesterday I saw that one of my favorite readers, Jennie, had a case of the dreaded hard drive failure. My sympathy goes out to her, and to anyone else who has experienced this rude realization that digital life is fragile.
Her struggle reminded me of a similar occasion I experienced. I'm writing it down so that it gets written down - but you can read it too.
A few years ago, I was working on a very important project. This particular project was worth many thousands of dollars to me and my family. I was at work the night before deadline, trying to get everything wrapped up so that I could get it submitted the next morning. I remember that it was after midnight, and I wanted to get finished and get to bed.
Then it happened: My Mac turned itself off. I wasn't too worried, because I have developed a "save reflex" and save the files I am working on frequently, without even thinking about it. I chose to develop this skill, rather than throw myself off a bridge. I had been burned before.
I restarted the Mac, and waited for it to boot up. Chime...wait..screen...wait...desktop...good to go. Only this time, after the start-up chime, the normal process was interrupted by this:
I have affectionately learned to call this the "Blinking Folder of Doom". Not to be confused with the "Blue Screen of Death". While the "Blue Screen of Death" means the system is dead, the "Blinking Folder of Doom" means that your computer does not see your hard drive - which usually means the hard drive is dead. Dead, as in everything on that drive is now unaccessible.
So I restarted the computer. Again. And again. And again. Nothing.
I began to sweat.
I found my system disks and ran a disk utility program. Nothing.
I began to get nauseous.
I ran a third-party disk repair program. Nothing.
I called my EC at 1:00am, explained the problem, and told her I would be late.
I restarted the computer 20 more times.
I got angry at the computer.
I got angry at myself for not having backed up. At all.
I cussed. Out loud.
I started the computer 20 more times. Aggressively.
I tried to figure out if I had time to recreate all the work to meet my deadline. Impossible.
I noticed that it was now 3:00am, and I again fought the urge to vomit.
It shames me to confess that up until this time it had not occurred to me to ask for God's help. But I was quickly becoming very humble. So, I did what I should have done hours earlier. I prayed. I repented. I asked for help.
"Heavenly Farther it is important to me and my family that I can save this hard drive. It is a righteous desire. I need a miracle. Please help me. Please fix my hard drive."
I stood up, and with complete faith I pushed the startup button. I heard the chime, the screen flickered for a moment, and there before me was...the Blinking Folder of Doom. Still.
I was not pleased. It was a righteous desire, right? Was I really asking that much? He created the universe, right? But I knew that my heart wasn't right. I was angry, and I was giving God my order like He worked at a drive-thru repair shop. My "humility" was forced.
So, I sat and thought. And eventually I prayed again. It was a very different prayer, I was no longer angrily desperate, merely desperate. I no longer expected, merely hoped. I knew God had the power to help me, but I didn't know if He should. This time I was more specific. This time I asked the Lord to help me know what to do to solve the problem.
At 3:30am, I got up from my knees and pushed the startup button yet another time. I heard the chime...and the hard drive spun up. Everything loaded on the screen - it was all there! I quickly transferred all the important files off my computer, onto an external hard drive. Seconds after the transfer was complete, the system crashed again, and that hard drive never worked again.
God did not repair my hard drive - but He gave me 3 minutes. 180 seconds. It was enough.
I tearfully returned to my knees, stunned with gratitude. I plugged the hard drive into another computer, finished my project, met my deadline, and went home as the sun was coming up.
Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. Alma 37:6