ReStart or ReBoot

It was the top computer of the year.

GatewayIt was 1992 if my memory serves me correct. It cost me over 2k and the installation of Microsoft Office was 35 diskettes… This computer was the fastest around. A Gateway 486/66 DX2. Lot’s of memory. Lot’s of hard drive space. The tallest tower. The best monitor.

For it’s time.

Even with all of the “latest and greatest” whiz bang technology – it still locked up every so often. The only way to get out of it was to to do a hard re-boot (power off and power on) or a soft re-boot (CTL+ALT+Delete), sometimes called a restart.

Sometimes, you could simply bring up the Task Manager and cancel an offending process and the computer would recover. Sometimes. Other times you had to be brutal with the choice and chance loosing valuable data and time. You may even lose the ability to restart a program and have to rebuild the icon, or reload the software.

Regardless. It seemed there was always a way to restart your computing world.

In my mainframe world of the early 70’s, we had instructions for every step of operation on what to do should there be a system or programming problem. “Restart and Rerun” instructions were included in the documentation. What steps are needed to successfully restart the job step, or rerun the entire operation? Sometimes you had to restore certain files, change parameters, or even call in some expert assistance to know what to do next. I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum – the caller, and the called.

Without proper instructions you create the opportunity for the ending results to be grossly wrong. When dealing with bank balances, those daily customers are only interested in having the right numbers reflecting their transactions to date.

Why can we not restart other things so simply?

Your commitments are made. Life is being lived. Careers are established. Family is started. Your path of life is spread out before you. Then something happens and you find yourself in need of restarting a task, or process. You dig around trying to find the best step to take. Soft reboot? Hard reboot? Maybe its a new career, or restarting from ground zero in a financial collapse. Maybe it’s as simple as replacing a worn out ride.

Think about it for a moment.

We have all been there. Multiple times. And along the way we have learned some valuable lessons in making good decisions! We ask some very important questions: Where are we at? What must happen? What can happen? Analyze the options. Make necessary corrective actions. Then startup the process. All over. Again.

Status. Analyze. Decision. Think it through before acting, or even reacting. What’s the best “next step” to do at this particular point? Not everything can simply be restarted. Sometimes you have to wade through some difficult choices for your action to be the most profitable.

And there are times you simply have to live with imperfect results.

I read a poem from my daily Writer’s Almanac (from Garrison Keillor) a few years ago and I have read it over and again as it keeps me thinking about what it takes to start over.

The Land of Beginning Again
by Louisa Fletcher

I wish that there were some wonderful place
In the Land of Beginning Again.
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
and never put on again.

I wish we could come on it all unaware,
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be there at the gates
like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.

We would find all the things we intended to do
But forgot, and remembered too late,
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken,
And all the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The day for one less fortunate.

It wouldn’t be possible not to be kind
In the Land of Beginning Again,
And the ones we misjudged
and the ones whom we grudged
their moments of victory here,
Would find in the grasp of our loving hand-clasp
More than penitent lips could explain…

So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never put on again.

“The Land of Beginning Again” by Louisa Fletcher, from The Land of Beginning Again. © Nabu Press, 2011. (Originally published before 1923)

Is there such a place? How many of us would love to find it…

We may not be able to restart our lives, but there are things we can restart – a connection with a friend of years gone by, our marriage, our financial house, our career (no matter how old), our healthy approach to eating and living, and yes, we can even reconnect with those we thought were long since separated from us.

We can restart our spiritual relationship also. Many have learned this in the New Testament. Consider that Nicodemus learned this (John 3) even though he was a ruler of the Jews. He restarted his view of who Jesus was. The Prodigal son (Luke 15) came back from the far side of living a wanton life and reconnected with his family. Even Peter, denying Christ (Matt 26) during His trial, reconnected with Jesus in a personal way after the resurrection (John 21).

One last thought. You cannot MAKE someone restart from their pathway. You can only be instrumental in helping them to identify their choices. Think about it. You would never dream of someone forcing you into a particular path. But if options are presented then you will choose what you feel is best for yourself. You will have only yourself to blame if the choice is not a proper one.

Though you cannot restart your entire life from the very beginning, you do have power to restart and reboot your life at certain points along the way.

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