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Sharing the Burden

A couple of weeks ago the server crashed at the nursing home where I do IT Consulting. I got a phone call while I was at the chiropractor that they had received a blue error screen and that none of them could log on to the computer. My heart sank.

A blue screen of death or BSOD in geek speak is never a good sign, but it is a VERY bad sign when that computer is your primary domain controller and without it the entire office is shut down. No internet, no logging on, no access to the database for payroll processing – nothing.

I worked 12 hours the first day trying to restore the server which was still using a 12 inch monitor circa 1995 and was housed in someone’s very busy office. Women kept streaming into the office checking on my progress, residents would poke their heads in and ask how I was doing, but I really needed them all to go away.

My college degreee is in Business Adminimistatrion but my background is in computers. I have an MCSE that I received in 1998 which is pretty much worthless now, but at the time was very valuable and it gave me the foundational understanding of computers and networking which I used to start my career in Information Technology.  An MCSE is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and I paid $9000 and 6 months of my life to SMU to earn that piece of paper.

Day two at the Nursing home wasn’t much better and finally I had to call Microsoft and get them on the phone to help. The pressure was building since this was Wednesday and on Friday I had to be in Oklahoma for a wedding and payroll had to be done the very next day in order for all the staff of the Nursing Home to get paid.

I was starting to get a little panicky because I had figured out how to get part of the server back up and running, but I couldn’t get the rest fixed because I wasn’t the one to set the server up. I had no idea how it was configured and since I had been working at the nursing home my job had mostly been to fix the day-to-day activities and not to delve into the interworkings of the network.

At about 3pm one of the ladies from the home said she could call a friend who might be able to sit on the phone with Microsoft and help me out if I needed it. His name was Brian and he arrived at about 4:00 p.m. while I was in the middle of a call with Microsoft.  Brian sat next to me and I relayed to him what was happening briefly.  I had setup a remote control session with Microsoft on a partition of the server that had access to the broken portion of the server and while the guy on the phone was on the other side of the world, he was a computer genius. He literally edited the hexidecimal code in order to fix the broken server. People, if you ever get a blue screen of death on a server do not try to fix it on your own, just call Microsoft and these guys can fix it! It was amazing.

During that call I had this unbelievable sense of relief come over me long before the technician had repaired the computer. In Brian I had sensed competency and confidence. I felt like he was someone I could rely on if this problem got out of hand and it was like someone had pulled the plug on an over-inflated air mattress that was crammed into my head.

This revelation sort of floored me. I’ve been a loaner most of my life relying on myself to get things accomplished and never really felt like I had someone that I could count on in a pinch – especially in the realm of IT and Networking. Not only that, Brian and I just sort of seemed to click. We talked the same language and when the situation was resolved I felt like in different circumstances we would have become good friends.

It was in these moments of stress that I realized that this is why God created Eve. He saw that Adam needed a helper, not because Adam wasn’t competent and completely able to handle everything himself, but because sometimes it is just nice to share the burden with someone else. There is something amazing about human presence and how it affects us all.

So if you are dealing with something, don’t try to go it alone. Get help. Share that burden.

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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