Happy New Year!
The clock has run out on 2010,
the fat lady sang her tune, and Elvis has left the building. Okay,
sorry for the silly clichés, but there is something about welcoming in
a brand-new year that lifts my spirits. There is always a freshness
blowing in the wind, the air is ripe with new beginnings, and I can’t
shake the feeling that this next year is going to be the best one ever.
I know what you are thinking:
Uncle Dave neglected to take his antimania medications. But don’t
worry. I have good reason for my euphoria. I promise to illustrate my
point before this article is over. Moreover, I will show how this time
of year can and should provide a much needed adjustment to our hearts
and walks with God—critical for creating truly life-transforming
fiction. But first, please excuse me if I sidle up to the point by
first indulging in a bit of a rant.
Are you a PC, or a Mac?
Now you really think I lost it.
But I think most of you know what I mean. Which type of computer do you
use? I am a PC person, with aspirations of someday owning a MacBook
Pro. I won’t go into the full list of reasons I hope to make the
change, but the main motivation has to do with reliability. Not that I
believe all the hype about the superiority of a Mac over a PC, but
after suffering the last two years with Microsoft Vista, I am ready for
I may be revealing my
ancientness here, but my first computer was an old IBM XT. It had an
annoying amber screen, no hard drive, and a gigantic, low-density
floppy disk drive that buzzed, popped, and rattled as the computer read
and wrote information to the disk. In fact, I owned several of these
old XT computers before finally upgrading to a used IBM 286 equipped
with a whopping ten megabyte hard drive. I even managed a color
monitor. The big times—oh yeah.
It was about this time that I
was first introduced to Macs. Back then, I ran a Campus Life Club at
one of the local junior high schools. Above and beyond my duties of
running a weekly club meeting, I also volunteered regularly in the
cafeteria, chaperoned special events and outings, and, most important,
helped out a couple of periods each week in the science and math
departments. It was in the science classroom that I had my introduction
to Apple’s equivalent to the IBM 286. I’ll never forget the experience.
The teacher asked me to help
with gathering the school’s weather condition measurements
(temperature, wind speed, and rainfall) and posting the statistics to
one of the local television news networks. The teacher gave me a short
rundown on the procedure then quickly returned to teaching his class. I
remember facing this strange beast of a computer, with
interface, and, worse, its mouse. I had no idea what to do with the
mouse. The keyboard and I were old friends, and the graphical interface
seemed refreshingly intuitive and easy to use; but the mouse was
another story entirely.
I remember picking it up and
waving it around in the air, frustrated that none of my waving produced
the desired results on the computer screen. (Admit it, you did the same
thing the first time you picked up a mouse.) Obviously, I had a bit of
a learning curve in using that first-generation Apple, but it was
nothing compared to learning all the syntax and command structure
needed to navigate a DOS computer. Ah, the good old days.
Don’t worry; I’m not going to
bore you with a detailed history of working my way up the PC
evolutionary chain. Suffice it to say that Microsoft Windows was a game
changer in the competition between Macs and PCs. And perhaps the
biggest change was the PC’s introduction to the mouse. But this time I
was ready for the little beast. Anyone who used those early generations
of Microsoft Windows knows how buggy they were. You had to save your
work and reboot the machine often. To neglect this simple safety
procedure could, and often did, mean disaster in losing several hours’
worth of work, something that seldom happened with a Mac—a sad reality
that has continued to hold true through the almost twenty years that
But I have to admit that I have
grown strangely fond of those periodic reboots. Each fresh boot brings
with it a renewed stability and overall sense of reliability. Welcoming
in a brand-new year has the same refreshing quality to me. It is a time
of letting go of old struggles and taking fresh stock of my goals and
dreams for the coming year. A spiritual element is in all of it too. I
typically set aside time to be with the Lord and seek His face for His
direction. I allow his forgiveness to wash over me anew. I guess you
could call it a spiritual reboot.
If there is one thing I have
learned over my years in youth ministry, it’s that it is easy to get
sidetracked by all the pressures and urgencies of life, and lose track
of the things that God considers truly important. I would urge all of
you to join with me in setting aside a little time to seek the Lord and
allow God to reset your system. After all, what could be more important
in the life of an inspirational author than to draw deeply from the
well of God’s heart?
I sincerely hope that, like me,
each of you finds the time for a fresh reboot. And may it shine through
in all you write for Him in this coming year.