Finding meaning in a crashing computer

May 1, 2021 - 12:00am -- Living City

Finding meaning in a crashing computer
A young woman’s kindness sparks a chain of sharing

One day, as I was trying to save my work for my doctoral thesis, something kept going wrong with my computer. It suffered one crash after another. I only managed to leave the house at 6pm to go to my university campus to try to conclude my research. 

Feeling discouraged and in need of a spiritual boost, I decided to attend an evening mass near my home that was on my way. I then stopped to buy some cookies to keep me going through the night. 

When I got on the subway, I sat down opposite an old man. He was sleeping, and the smell around him was so strong that I struggled to hold my breath. At first I was tempted to move to another seat, or even car (as everyone else was doing), but I decided to remain seated where I was, thinking that by doing so, when the man awoke, he would at least see someone nearby. 

During the trip, I thought about what else I could do for him, apart from praying. I then remembered the Gospel phrase, “Give and gifts will be given to you” (Lk 6:38), so I thought of offering him the cookies I had just bought. 

A divine strength helped me to overcome not only my attachment to these cookies, but also my pride for what others might think of me. In addition, I feared the man’s reaction, since he was not begging, although his appearance gave me the strong impression that he was truly in need.

And so, I did. I gently woke him up and gave him the cookies. He was so pleased, saying he had never met a female good Samaritan in his life. I left, deeply happy for his joy and continued my ride. 

This moment helped give meaning to the fact that I had not been able to leave home earlier that day, and why I hadn’t yet finished the thesis, which had overwhelmed me greatly until then.

I got out at the next station to buy a microwave dinner for myself, a friend, and another colleague who usually works late. When I was on my way to pay, my friend called to find out where I was. He wanted to tell me that he had already bought dinner for the two of us, which ended up being even better than what I was going to buy. It would also be enough to share with my colleague, who gave us some chocolate in return!

I spent all that night working, and I even managed, at last, to put together a complete version of my thesis. Not only that, but when I arrived home the following morning, I had a delicious meal waiting for me, prepared by one of my roommates. 

Experiences like these remind me of how true the words of the Gospel are, and how my life changes if I remain in God’s love. It just takes that first little leap of faith.

- Ana Franco, London

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