Restoring Our Factory Settings

Although it often relegates us to treadmill running, a snow day is a wonderful reprieve from routine. There are little or no expectations from work or school; it is as if we have an excused tardy or absence. Better yet, unlike a sick day, everyone else is off too. This unexpected free time can be used to catch up on sleep, lazily clear programs off of the DVR, or tackle some of those much-delayed household chores. I tend to do the latter since my junk drawer rapidly expands from junk drawer to a junk closet to junk room. I love snow days because they help me hit the soft reset button on life. Like restarting the computer in which the soft reset closes programs and clears the extra data in the RAM (random access memory), I decompress, reflex, and refocus. At times, however, life gets overwhelming and a hard reset is required. A hard reset deletes everything from the device and reverts it to its original settings. There are the nicks and scratches on the outside of the phone, but internally it is identical to the moment that it was taken out of the box.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a hard reset on life? We could undo all the mistakes that we made, the toes we have stepped on, and the relationships that we have damaged. Those embarrassing “what was I thinking?” moments would miraculously disappear and we could start anew. The apology that still leaves a relationship with residual damage would be healed completely. We could forgive AND forget. Some of us would even risk losing the “positive memories” in order to erase the bad ones. A clean slate is appealing.

Sadly, despite this concept being prevalent in popular culture from Twilight Zone to Groundhog Day to Men in Black, no such device exists. We cannot undo past mistakes but can only work towards learning from them. Yet creating times to reflect (like regularly scheduled “snow days”) makes us conducive to the improving. Think about how much time professional athletes take reviewing video of their games. Seeing their performance provides clear, honest feedback so that past mistakes can be avoided, strategies created, and overall performance improved. The coach may use the video to encourage players to work more collaboratively or highlight the skills of an opponent with the sole purpose of achieving a victory.

The Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous give a nice framework for self betterment and remind me that God affords us a “soft reset” daily.

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”



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