John O’Donohue, who writes with such wisdom about the human condition, says: “There is a kindness that dwells deep down in things; it presides everywhere, often in the places we least expect. The world can be harsh and negative, but if we remain generous and patient, kindness inevitably reveals itself...”
I have to admit that the last round of power cuts left me feeling ungenerous, impatient and downright jittery. Aside from the frustration and fury that we all share, the on-off electricity supply had fatal consequences for my elderly WiFi and computer equipment – a situation that winds me up like nothing else.
It’s irrational, I know, but when my computer stops working, I feel as if my life is threatened. I remind myself that it’s just a machine; that my work is backed up in a mysterious ‘cloud’, whose location is as elusive as heaven, and that there are technical wizards who can access this realm. On the dreadful day that the PC wouldn’t turn on, and the router wouldn’t connect, and my phone stopped receiving messages and my laptop would no longer allow me to open any files, and the mouse, despite a new battery, remained paralysed, I put on my takkies and went for a long walk. With each step I told myself that it was just a setback, and that, somehow, all would be well.
And it was, largely because of the kindness of others. Using a friend’s WiFi, I ran updates that restored the laptop functions; at home my neighbours connected me to their network; at the computer shop a new power button was fashioned for my non-standard PC; and in the mall a woman demonstrating a massage tool offered me a free shoulder rub, just because she saw I needed one.
Trusting that things would work out seemed to be a conduit for the support that immediately came. A week after my days of despair, fibre was installed at my house, with a brand new router. Today the PC turns on at a touch; my emails fly back and forth at speed; my word files are where they should be; the laptop mouse is scurrying as usual and I am breathing again.
All I need now is to practise patience, in the hope that a little kindness from the writing muse will show up and help me get back to work ...