A few worn-out parts

Confession: My laptop has a problem. In fact, it daily reminds me of the church in Laodicea, who said she was “rich and increased in goods and had need of nothing,” remember?

You see, my laptop continually holds up this little sign to me; a sign that reads A/C. After I gave up on believing it stood for Air Conditioning, and then All Cwiet on the Western Front, I assumed rather naively that it stood for All Charged. I thought this for many months. Functionally, it’s true. But Ryan tells me it means Alternating Current.

He gave me a little electronics lesson to explain, but his words slipped down all these little rabbit holes in my mind, and tickled. I kept laughing at the important places, and missed the point.


I call it All Charged.

So what’s wrong with this scenario?

The sign is only supposed to show up when the laptop’s battery is chockfull of power. But my computer stubbornly holds up its sign to me all the time, refusing to recharge at all, even when I know for a fact that the battery is on its last leg, in desperate need of rejuvenation.

Case in point: I just unplugged its cord to see how many minutes of life were remaining without electrical fortification. Shocked into speaking the truth, it lowered its A/C sign and confessed 0:00. I frowned at it, thinking Hey now, you can’t be quite that bad… and it promptly proved the point by dying on me.

It also wreaked revenge by discarding the document I was working on and had (foolishly) not saved in any form.

All Charged, huh?

Yet the computer remains sure of itself. I plug it back in, power it up again, and at the first opportunity, it throws its little sign back in my face: A/C. I’m doing just fine, thanks. Full throttle. Who needs recharging?

But it’s not reliable. I can’t take it anywhere, and then the cord wiggles loose, or one of the kids bumps something… It poops out on me many times a day.

It’s just a computer: a dumb-smart piece of technology with a few worn-out parts, programmed to respond to its environment in certain ways. But it has me thinking.

I am a person: a smart-dumb piece of majesty with a few worn-out parts, given huge amounts of discretionary power in life. Yet I too am programmed to respond to my environment in certain ways. I reach natural points of need, natural points of depletion.

Any time of year, but particularly over a holiday season, it’s easy to begin thinking I’m some kinda superpower. Would you do this? Sure, no problem. Can you fit this into your schedule? You bet. Might I ask you to please…? But of course. I’m all charged up and raring to go. A/C.

The problem is, no one is always A/C. We need time to replenish the resources we draw from.

We’re human. We can soar to the stars—and then crash for the night. We can conquer the world—and then hit the hay. We can do a mean mountaintop—and a mean sinkhole.

When I cultivate the impression that I’m always A/C, no one can reach me in my weakness. Is there something I can do to help? No, I’m fine. You’re taking too much responsibility; may I share the load? Oh, I’m really fine with it. Would you like a break? Nope, I’m fine for now.

I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.

A/C, huh?

Do me a favor, this week and next. Don’t forget to recharge. Ask for help when you are weak. Sip some tea. Go to bed early just one night. Sit down to read. Take a walk with the Lord. Work on something that brings you joy.

Lower your sign and confess what’s true.


If you would like to donate funds to our Laptop Replacement Fund… okay, that was a joke. I just wanted to scare the computer into better behavior. My Boss Man has an inexpensive technical replacement part on the way. I think it’s called a new charger, which sounds like a cross between a noble steed and John the Baptist’s final resting place…

How do you recharge? How do you know when you need to?

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Joanna Yoder
10 years ago

*laughter* This is going to have me smiling for awhile!—and, hopefully, remembering (at critical moments) to slip away alone for recharging.

Mom Coblentz
10 years ago

Seems you manage to call us to good places with enough humor that we don’t feel pushed around. How do you do it??? I, for one, need to hear this, and need to practice the art of letting others ‘in’ to see the neediness and then accept their generous offers to help. Thanks.

10 years ago

I shall read your last several paragraphs multiple times in the next week.

Wendy Zook
10 years ago

Oh, oh, now you have me crying! This reminder came at a crucial time in my life (and it has nothing to do with Christmas). I have been trying so hard to do it all myself and trying to meet my own expectations that I haven’t taken time to do things to recharge. Tomorrow; sewing machine here I come!

10 years ago

I get recharged reading your blog. It’s a call to the funnys and then back to reality. (Who needs a daily newspaper if you’re subscribed to Confessions?)

10 years ago

Last week I was the one on the early morning walk, weeping and wondering how I got to be so tired before the day’s church retreat ever began… My Father spoke and reminded me that I had spent my days working like crazy so as not to disappoint anyone (particularly myself!) and forgetting to ask Him what He wanted from me. His demands are far less than my own!
I love what you say and how you say it. Your honesty inspires me and your sense of humor recharges me!

10 years ago

I can identify all too well with your laptop & this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. If I had some wisdom to impart on this topic, I would insert it at this point. Two parts of your post that recharged me were the rabbit hole bit and the cross between the noble steed and John the Baptist’s final resting place. Wow, you just upped the ante for bloggers with this post.

Your son finds the holidays quite recharging, I think. I loved his comment today. He said something about the celebrations & fun starting today and continuing every day through New Year’s. The pure enjoyment of every moment is so beautiful to see. I want to see these holidays through childlike eyes.

10 years ago

Good stuff, Shari!

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