Just as my husband was a techno-geek of the highest order, I am a complete and total techno-idiot. I can be taught, but it takes a lot of repetition. I lost count of how long it took me – how many gazillion games of Solitaire and Mahjong I played – before I managed to master dragging and clicking the mouse.
Learning to drag and click was epic, but only the tip of the virtual iceberg. One also needs to know what to click, and where. And because all software companies have their own way of doing things, (bless their hearts), every program works differently.
A lot of the time, I’m lost. The icons and symbols and the choices in the drop-down menus don’t always mean what I think they mean. If there was a live human being behind that “tell me what you want to do” box at the top of the Microsoft Word task bar, we’d be BFFs. I spend more time interacting with that some days than I do my kids and grandkids.
There are tricks; you just have to know them. My husband’s favorite – the one he most often reminded me of when I was frustrated and didn’t understand either what my computer (read: I) had done, or how to make it do what I wanted it to do is to right click the mouse.
Left clicking is what we’re taught – “the way we’ve always done it.” But that doesn’t always get us where we want to go or let us do everything we want to do. (It doesn’t me, anyway.) Right clicking the mouse opens a new window that offers you all kinds of other options that you didn’t even know existed. (I didn’t, anyway). Cut! Copy! Paste! Synonyms! Translate! Rename! Delete! The choices vary depending on the program and the application, but when I remember to do it, right clicking can be absolutely magical.
I know what you’re thinking; I’m thinking it too. And I’m sure my husband is up there laughing his you-know-what off at the idea of me, the techno-idiot, offering my readers a tech tip. And yes, it has occurred to me that if you don’t use a computer or a mouse, or if your machine uses an operating system other than Windows, everything I’ve said up to this point is meaningless to you. You’ve gotten this far; “You’ve all done very well!” as Young Mr. Grace of Are You Being Served? would say, so humor me for just a little longer. There may be something here for you after all.
Just like I get lost in the maze of icons and task bars in Quickbooks, Excel, and Word, we humans get stuck all the time. We’re often in the middle of conundrums, dilemmas, catch-22s, Big Decisions, indecision, misunderstandings, disagreements, thorny questions, what ifs, maybes, yes – buts, both/ands, choices, exclusions, additions, red tape, fine print, curve balls, That Thing that Came Out of Left Field, and a million other difficulties. It can be challenging to sort it all out.
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to just “right click” our lives and find options for all of that stuff?
We may not think of them that way – and the results aren’t always as instantaneous as a mouse click, (although they can be) – but that’s what our spiritual practices are and what they do. We may call them prayer, centering, meditation, worship, confession, refocusing, the Examen, silence, breathing, fasting, art, music, discernment, mindfulness, journaling, walking, taking a time out, or any number of other things, but they function the same way the “right click” of the mouse does in Windows.
As we practice them, they afford us a deeper connection to the Holy and open up options for dealing with the stuff of life that so regularly confounds us: A way forward where we couldn’t see one; flashes of insight or understanding; an alternative or compromise; peace in the midst of chaos; a new way of being or doing; confirmation that we’re on the right track and just need to keep moving; a nudge to change direction or tactics.
What do you need to “right click” today? How will you do that?