Beware the Ide(a)s of March

I admit it. It was my fault. I was in a hurry. I brought it on myself.

Last week, I was trying to make a deadline for submitting an assignment, get a daughter to a job interview, be home for an appliance delivery, and meet a friend at the hospital whose family member was gravely ill. Oh, and I was also responding to an email from a friend that I had spent time with during my modular (intensive class) at seminary. There was also the usual – meals, laundry, enjoying time with family…  That all happened in a 24 hour period.

So I mindlessly responded to a request to install a plug-in by clicking “yes” when I visited a website suggested by my friend’s email to me…  My distracted brain thought that because I had just updated my web browser, that I was missing this plug-in. My common sense brain which usually screams “CHECK THE URL!!!” was too far in the distance to get through… until it was too late.


Window after window launched. I started to try and close them, and then reached for my wireless antenna switch and moved it to OFF. Error message after error message loaded. My computer crashed.

 I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew that I had just introduced some kind of malware to my laptop. The laptop that has ALL of my coursework, files, projects and a flippin 20 page paper well along in the development process. (Yes I had an incremental back up. Please.)

Of course I ran my brand-name virus protection scan. It found nothing. It didn’t flag the worm or virus when I clicked on it. (WHY? We don’t know.) And it didn’t stop it from inserting itself into my computer’s registry. But the results were unmistakeable. Despite my virus scanner giving the laptop a clean bill of health, I couldn’t connect to any websites which were malware-removal related. I couldn’t update my own virus protection (fat lotta good it did, but…) and I found out that friends were getting messages from “me” inviting them to check out this website.

Like Paul Revere I posted a warning… hoped that I didn’t catch anyone in my net of stupidity… and started reading.

Malware is meant to catch busy, distracted people. It mimics real, normal computer downloads. It looks close enough to the real thing that unless you are being attentive, you miss the subtle differences. And it works FAST! Its influence is felt almost immediately.

Where am I going with this?

So much of life we are busy. Doing. Listening. Helping. Playing. Reading. Writing papers (that’s if you’re in graduate school…) Exercising. Cooking. Cleaning. Driving. Parking. Shopping. (Fill in the blank.) We are distracted. We drive with the radio on, the wireless headset in our ear. We are miraculously skilled at gauging which grocery store line will be the fastest. (You know you do. I do too!) We are distracted.

This Lent I’ve been trying to slow down. To listen more, ponder more, be more available. To be fully present when I am with family or friends. I don’t want to add any “relational malware” to anyone’s life.

When I do — I am so thankful that God has made a way. That forgiveness is real, and that I am blessed to have some pretty amazing friends and family. Thanks. Love you guys a lot. A LOT!!!!

Really. Thanks.

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