Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lent '09 - Day 24: Priority Adjustment

I usually have a few technology problems that bug me that I want to solve. The latest is that my iPhoto library is taking up lots of space. This is due to us taking lots of video using our digital camera, which the camera doesn't compress. I've periodically searched for over a year to see if someone else built an application to compress all of iPhoto's video files. As this hasn't been done, I decided to bite the bullet and do it myself. This type task becomes dangerous. I know it's not the most important thing for me to spend my time on. But it does have value. Our computer, an essential tool, is running out of space, and I've already deleted everything else I can. This "iPhoto video compressor" would give us some breathing room.

This past weekend, sufficient time opened up for me to start engaging with this project. But of course, it takes longer than expected. It's not just something I can knock out in an hour. An hour of work exposes all the extra things I'll need to do. At that point, my mind spins on these things in the background. The task becomes a perfect trap for me. It's fun, has some value, and is a challenge. It becomes an itch that I just want to solve. I got more time to work on this project last night, and of course, hit more issue's that I'll need to work around. It wasn't very satisfying, because I wasn't near as far as long as I would have liked despite a couple of hours of work.

Afterwards, Kara and I started reading 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa. My Mom gave us this book for Christmas, and while Kara had started to read it, we agreed that it would be fun to read outloud together. As the title suggests, the books is 28 short vignettes of real people affected by AIDS in Africa. The story last night was of a grandmother in Malawi who was looking after all 13 of her grandchildren because all of her children had been wiped out by AIDS. Here was this 75+ year old woman singlehandedly farming and rasing these kids. She knows they need to get an education, but this costs a very expensive $2.50 per child per term. She is full of worry about having enough to get the kids to school and how much longer she'll live to look after them.

Hearing this story made me feel pretty foolish. We have money sitting in the bank to give away and money in savings that I want to put to good use through a project like Kiva. It's just going to take a little time to sit down and do it. These tasks have been on my todo list for over a month now, but here I had prioritized compressing my iPhoto library ahead of them. I just don't think my prioritization qualifies as "serving in the new way of the Spirit" (Romans 7:6). When I admitted my foolishness to Kara last night, she legitimately laughed. Needless to say, this iPhoto project won't be getting any more time until these more important matters are taken care of.

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