Column: What to do when feeling powerless

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. he has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.
Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. he has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

Journey back with me a couple of weeks ago when I got a snazzy new iMac. Although I’d owned a laptop for four years, I rarely used it as such.

In other words, it almost never sat on my lap or even moved from its spot on my desk. Therefore, I decided to go back to a desktop computer.

Believe me, the iMac (as most Apple products) is stylish and attractive. After unpacking the new computer and all of its accessories, including a wireless trackpad and keyboard, all was looking good.

I went to the Quick Start Guide which read: “When you start your iMac for the first time . . .” Yeah, that was
a problem. I couldn’t figure out how to turn the thing
on. For readers who think I am a total incompetent, rest assured that the first thing I checked was that the machine was properly plugged into an electrical outlet.

I tried pressing a few keys on the keyboard but, unless elves had magically synced it to the computer, that did nothing. Likewise, pressing on the trackpad was fruitless. I pressed the Apple logo on the bottom of the monitor. Zip.

Putting to good use my many hours of watching police procedurals on TV, I did a thorough “pat down” of the computer. Not only was it not carrying any weapons, it also apparently didn’t possess a power button.

I then tried pushing on various areas of the screen, succeeding only in covering it with fingerprints. Desperately, I even attempted to give the unresponsive monitor a voice command, “Start!” It paid me no mind.

Finally, inspiration struck. I hauled out my trusty iPad, headed to YouTube and typed in: “Turning on an iMac.” Sure enough, there were several videos on the subject. Was there a power button on the machine? You bet. It was “sleekly integrated” (read: effectively hidden) near the bottom right of the computer’s back. I pressed the magic button and a new world opened up.

I know I’m not alone in keeping up with technology. One of my favorite emails lists some trials of living in a “connected” world:

1. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

2. You email your son to let him know it’s time to eat. He texts you back from his bedroom: “What’s for dinner?”

3. You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but you haven’t spoken with your next-door neighbor yet this year.

4. You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.

5. You wake up at 2 a.m. to go to the bathroom and check your email and Facebook on your way back to bed.

6. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. 🙂

Seriously, despite its craziness, drawbacks and dangers, there continues to be great potential for doing good works through technology. We can now keep in touch easily and economically with even faraway family and friends through email and Skype. Websites abound with Catholic news (like theleaven. com or catholicnews.com), prayer resources and videos.

Lately, I’ve used a simple way to reach out to others at a time of need, even if I’ve lost touch over the years and don’t have a current snail mail address or phone number for them. Many people, like me, check the obituaries each day. Almost all funeral homes nowadays have a website where you can leave a message of sympathy for the family of a deceased loved one. This easy and effective way to minister to the grieving takes just a few minutes, but speeds condolences when most needed and appreciated.

This summer, learn some creative ways to use technology to unleash the power of God’s love on the world. And, if you need help turning on an iMac, I’m your guy.

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