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OTHER ITA SITES:
Sissy's Show of Support
I had been fighting with the software program that I used to build my website. The software program had a bug in it and would occasionally anger the main brains of my computer. Without warning, my computer would lock the program shut and forbid me to enter the website's file. I never knew from day to day which time I saved the file and closed it would be the last time I'd be able to open it. It didn't happen very often, but when it happened, it was like the file no longer existed. My computer had put an invisible prison wall around it and I was no longer allowed to enter in and work within the file. I would have to recreate the website from scratch every time this happened.
The final straw was when I had gone in to do a major overhaul on the site and couldn't open the file. I spent two days completely rebuilding the site from scratch. I uploaded the new file onto the web. I was really proud of my new and improved website. I'd barely slept the night before because of all the work involved. I was dead tired at 7 o'clock that night as I sent out a newsletter inviting my readers to go check it out and give me some feedback as to what they thought of all the changes I'd just made.
That's when I found out that one of the main links was leading people into the wrong page. The result was that nobody could get to the newsletters. They would not be able to sign up anymore. Okay, that's not a big deal. I just had to open the file, redirect the link, reload the site unto the web, and go to bed. It should only take about 15 minutes. With any luck, I would be in bed by 8 o'clock! The site slammed shut again! I had only finished rebuilding it an hour or so earlier! I was going to have to rebuild the site from scratch right then so that when my readers woke up the next morning they could see the site working properly. Any random web traveler stumbling upon my site would not be able to sign up for my newsletters. I couldn't tell you if I was more angry or exhausted as I began from scratch yet again.
When my thirteen year old daughter was getting ready to go to bed a few hours later, she asked me how much longer I'd be up working. I told her the truth; it was going to be the wee hours of the morning before I would be finished. She completely understood my commitment to Tomorrow's Edge and knew that I would forgo yet another night of sleep to get it up and running correctly. True to her nature, she was outraged at the unfairness of the situation.
She volunteered to stay up with me as a show of her love and support. I told her there was really nothing she could do to help me, and that it would mean more to me if she would get a good night's sleep and then agree to baby-sit her little brother in the morning. I would really need to sleep in and it would mean so much more to me if she would get up with my two year old and keep him out of my room so that I could sleep. She insisted that she would do both.
She went and gathered up a bunch of her art supplies and hung out with me until I finished. She even went a step further and ran me a nice hot bath as I was finishing up the last touches on the site. She hung out with me as I soaked in the tub talking with me about everything and nothing. Then she tucked me into bed and turned out the lights. She was so proud of me for completely rebuilding the site and not screaming and crying or giving up and quitting. That little show of support meant so much to me that I almost cried as I fell asleep.
What a wonderful thing we can learn from her. How many times do we simply let someone struggle alone because we have no idea how to help them? I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me to have her simple companionship. It was during those hours between 1 and 3 am when I could barely see straight that having her there just to keep me awake meant so much to me. No, she didn't lift a finger. No, she didn't bail me out. No, she didn't fix it. She simply said, "You will not go through this alone. I will be here to cheer you on." Her presence made an ugly exhausting nightmare into a beautiful example of the power of love. I felt so good by the time I melted into my pillows that I had no anger or resentment over the event. She made it all okay just by caring enough to show up.
It's easy to help our loved one's when we know what to do. Roll up your sleeves, dive in, and get to work! But what about those times when we're at a complete loss for words? What about when we don't have the tools or resources to help them? What about when their problem or challenge is completely over our head and beyond our area of expertise? What then? Typically, we stumble over some sort of an apology mixed in with excusing ourselves from the problem. We wish them well and say a little prayer on their behalf. Next time, consider simply being fully present so they are not completely alone in their struggle. Seems stupid and small, but it's not. It's wonderful and huge.
By the way, the next morning, the software locked up again. I finally invested in an upgrade!
Copyright 2004, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow's Edge
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