In the days before I converted to Mac, defragging my PC was a standard part of my life. I would order things in neat folders and subfolders, name files consistently and accurately then conscientiously delete them when they were superseded by newer versions. Alas, my PC would still take its sweet, sweet time with even basic tasks. It would limp along on the best of days and then sometimes it would simply stop, mid-task. A real space cadet. I wonder what it was thinking about. The meaning of life? How challenging it was just to exist?
Defragging my disk drives was my digital equivalent of spring cleaning. By that I mean it was a lazy attempt at fixing a deeper issue. As I watched the little status bar creep slowly and painfully towards 100%, I felt like my outsourced brain was purifying itself. Or levelling up. I had this expectation that the machine that emerged would be restored and renewed, ready for action.
Wishful thinking. Despite my attempts to keep things clean on the front-end, no amount of defragging could fix the internal stuff which was shot to pieces and beyond saving. Either my disk was undefragmentable or defragmenting is a fancy word that sounds scientific but means nothing and does nothing.
Defragmentation. Why do we defrag instead of unfrag?
You can’t unbreak the pieces, so I suppose it’s about ordering the bits. Creating a mosaic from the shards.
Life often feels hopelessly fragmented. As a writer, as someone fascinated by the way we communicate, and above all as a member of Gen Y, it’s all about the story. I crave narrative; I need a framework for my fragments.
So I create narratives to make sense of the randomness. When I process significant life events, in reality what I am doing is defragging my heart. Trying to make a mosaic.
I said: I didn’t realise it before, but I studied seven years of Spanish in order to spend these two tough but beautiful years in Ecuador.
I said: Look how my Spanish, my time in Ecuador and my previously superfluous law degree came together so sublimely in that one year in Bolivia.
I said: This job was made for me, that’s what my experiences in the Andes and in Timor-Leste were for.
Only this job actually wasn’t made for me at all.
I say: All of these things have made me who I am and who I am becoming. So there must be a reason I’m in Sydney now.
I haven’t come up with an explanatory narrative for this yet – but I’m sure I will.
It’s not that these narratives are false, necessarily. They’re just so far short of what God is really doing. Because they’re narratives created by the character, not the author – and as a result, they are self-centred stories that miss the bigger picture. They’re subplots, and incomplete ones, at that.
You can’t put God’s plans in a box, they wouldn’t fit. Yet I continue to seek frameworks for my life.
And God keeps reminding me that today, here and now is enough. His promises for the near and distant future are enough. Jesus on the Cross 2,000 years ago and Jesus eternally is enough.
The framework of the Cross is enough. That, truly, is the only way to declutter my life.
This Easter just past was a powerful reminder of that. My head was full of buzzing thoughts, my heart was full of swarming emotions. I was tangled up in them.
So I went home and immersed myself in Christ’s death and resurrection. In family, in old friendships.
A spiritual defrag.
A defrag that gave me clarity, perspective, reassurance, peace. A defrag that sent me back to Sydney with greater energy, motivation, strength and balance.
A defrag that worked.
Fragmented No. 1
I am fragmented,
strewn across the earth;
catching both sunshine
Shards of me
heart with no home,
feet that roam all roads,
chasing threads of harmony
to weave into your melody,
seeking the silences
that make your music resound.
and eyes only for you.
I am fragmented,
strewn across the earth;
none shall find me
save Heaven’s Eye,
gather me up into the stars.
Fragmented No. 2
I am fragmented
thoughts strewn across the day
invading armies annex my mind
dividing and conquering
my headspace, my time
a minute, an hour, a moment too long
they carry the spoils away
to distant lands of contrary cares
far and foreign from my heart
and in its place reigns Time
with a capital ‘T’
whose power grows like moss
then like a weed
upon this fertile soul
so if my thoughts are prisoners
in other kingdoms, to other masters –
am I still my own
or do I no longer belong to me?
Bring me back those pieces of myself
set those captives free
return to reclaim me
and I shall be yours
mind, heart and soul
minutes, hours and not a moment too long