Saturday, May 26, 2007

It Happens to Me

This afternoon I was in my study finishing my sermon for tomorrow. Since it's Pentecost, I was writing on the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives.

I wrote that to call the Holy Spirit the Comforter is not to make Him into a spiritual duvet that makes sure nothing bad or sad or awkward ever happens to us.

No. He's our Comforter in and through our troubles. He's the one who unites us to Christ in His sufferings and therefore to Christ in His resurrection.

So I finish my sermon early in the evening, about time for supper. But first, I decide to finish the job properly and print it out before I go downstairs.

Now, I use WordPerfect. WP61, to be precise. I use it because of the beautiful Reveal Codes, and I use it because it's so easy to format and print out my sermons in booklet form, which is nasty and hard to do in Word.

So my text is done and I go to Print, Options, Booklet Printing, Print Odd Pages. All very simple and straightforward. I've done it hundreds of times, on this computer and its predecessors.

But for some reason, this time, instead of printing four sheets worth of odd pages (that I will reinsert to put four pages worth of even page text on the flip sides), I get eight sheets of everything.

My blood sugar is low, but I take myself in hand and try to see if I can put those sheets back in and print on the other sides and get two good copies.


I try turning off WP, then turning it back on and printing again. This time I'll try Even pages first.

No. Same eight pages. Blood sugar still crashing. Frustration level mounting.

Damn, she says theologically. If the new computer and the new printer are doing that, let's save the sermon to the thumbdrive and print it on the old computer and the old printer.

I boot up the old laptop. Defective patch cord comes loose and machine goes down. I try again, open WP, and bring up my sermon off the thumbdrive. Print, Options, Booklet Printing, Print Odd Pages. Message appears on the screen: "Printer cannot print on paper size chosen. Printer will choose paper size." Or something like that. No option to cancel print. Happily, I've only chosen "Print current page," in case the old cartridge needed priming.

Test page comes out vertical instead of horizontal, with the text cut off on both sides. With the low blood sugar, I can't remember how I worked around that in the past. And why am I getting a window telling me to reinsert the sheet to print on the back? That's only supposed to happen in Word, not WordPerfect!

I try the new computer again. Warning message: "Black ink cartridge is low!" What? I only bought it a month ago! It can't be low! I don't have a spare!

I don't believe the warning. I try printing again.

Damn again! The new cartridge is out of ink. Wouldn't have mattered anyway. It's the same useless eight sheets coming out in the tray.

By now I'm getting very annoyed and very frustrated, and it ain't just the low blood sugar. It's been a good two hours since I started trying to print this blinking thing, and blast it, it won't behave! Why do things like this happen to me!? Why do things seem deliberately to set out to sabotage me?!? It's not fair!!! It's JUST NOT FAIR!!!

Then it hits me: You idiot. Tomorrow you're going to preach that people should depend on the Holy Spirit to get them through death, dismemberment, and disaster. Don't you think He's capable of lending you patience enough to put up with technological glitches? Don't you think He can give you serenity and wisdom enough to figure out how to get your sermon printed out?

Yes. Rebuke taken, and applied.

So it was back to the old computer and its printer. Got the page orientation problem figured out. At the cost of a few more sheets of paper, worked out the implications of the Word double-sided printing issue that had somehow found its way into WordPerfect.

But at last I got my sermon printed out.

And I got my own sermon for the night.

Yes, it does happen to me, the temptation to think everything should always go well in my little world. The temptation to depend on myself and get fractious when I can't make things work instantly. The temptation to preach at others when I should be applying my sermons to myself, first.

But the Holy Spirit and His wisdom happens to me, too. And it's God's own gracious blessing to me that He does.

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