Thirty years ago, the technology that turned my digital world upside down yesterday was unimaginable. I was locked out of my Google account because I foolishly left my Google voice number as a two-factor authentication - so when I was logged out of all devices unexpectedly, I couldn’t receive text messages to prove my identity.
The thought of trying to describe this situation to someone in the 90’s is comical. What is Google? Two-factor authentication? A digital world? Similarly, I can’t imagine explaining that despite having a ticket, I couldn’t board a plane that had a seat for me because a computer wouldn’t print my boarding pass. In pursuing security and efficiency, have we lost common sense?
Technology has changed the world so quickly that I am old enough to remember a time when manual workarounds were commonplace and young enough to expect a lot more change will come in my lifetime. I spent much of yesterday trying every possible means of recovering ten years of emails, contacts, and text messages - which have not disappeared, but are now entirely inaccessible. If I had ever taken ten minutes to properly set up a recovery email and codes, I would have all my data and twenty hours of my life back. But who has ten minutes with four kids and trips around the globe? (Learn from me! Find ten minutes! Make sure your recovery options make sense, especially if your gypsy life makes consistent phone numbers seem like Shangri-La!!).
Today I came to terms with the unlikelihood of regaining access, set up a new email address (with proper recovery factors), and spent much of the day changing over accounts on innumerable websites. Thankfully, my Google Drive is backed up to my computer and two external hard drives (because ironically, I trust NOTHING when it comes to technology). Eventually my work files and the kids’ school documents will be in order again. But what about the weight of technology on our attempts to be present?
Getting a fresh start feels surprisingly life-giving. I literally cannot respond to those emails, and my new inbox is shiny and spacious. My heart longs for the day and the place our minds will not be divided between the digital and the physical worlds. Some day, all of this memory-making and memory-keeping will be washed away by joy and peace eternal for those who believe. No lost accounts. No more task lists. No frazzled thoughts of what we should have done differently. Just forever in a place with no night, no tears, and no errors. Heaven is so much more than that, but it is an overwhelmingly beautiful way to begin.