A little over two weeks ago, I cozied up with my laptop, ready to write a post before the Thanksgiving break disruptions set in, only to discover that WordPress, my blog hosting site, suddenly wanted to me to enter a password.
A password that my browser had never failed to recollect since its creation about nine months ago.
A password that I in no way remembered.
Just a minor blip, right? I clicked the “Forgot Password” button and waited for an email instructing me on how to reset that pesky thing.
And I waited and waited.
The shortest version to this frustrating story is I had devised an email solely for the origination of the blog. I hadn’t actually used it in, you know, nine months. When I finally figured this out, I tried to enter the password for that email account, but discovered AOL had deleted it after six months of dormancy. I called AOL, but, alas, it was gone. Kaput. Never to be accessed again.
I tried to recreate the same email, thinking the reset instructions would be sent eventually to that address. Nope. Once an email address is used, even if it’s been deleted by AOL, it can’t be reused. It just hangs out in limbo in cyber purgatory.
I emailed WordPress. I begged. I pleaded.
Frankly, I was a grouch most of Thanksgiving break. Losing access to this blog felt like losing the ability to breathe deeply. I was getting enough oxygen to survive, but just barely. No one in my house understood the ins and outs of the technical problem; they all just knew mommy couldn’t blog, and it was making her cranky.
WordPress instructed that I should find my authentication code. Not possible. It was in the lost email, in an inbox somewhere out there no one could reach.
Never fear, says WordPress, you bought an upgrade. Simply find your PayPal transaction code, send it to us, and we’ll get you back into your blog in no time.
Two hours of reviewing credit card statements from last spring, three hours on the phone with PayPal, and even more hours of complete consternation. I finally relented. This clearly just wasn’t meant to be. I started thinking about creating a new blog site.
It was heartbreaking.
I realized that in the months it takes to create a new life in the womb, I had, somehow, managed to create a new life through blogging. Writing had provided a release for my sadness and frustration. It was, in many ways, healing me, allowing me to find the good I so desperately needed to find in this new life with Lyme.
A Broken Crayon provided connections with others suffering from chronic illness, letting me feel less alone in this supposedly non-endemic state.
It afforded an outlet for me and a cushion for others. In a small way, I was teaching again, sharing prevention, symptoms, and treatment information with readers around the globe.
My girls loved putting a pin in our blog map for each country that represented a new reader. At the risk of sounding pompous, we were darn proud of our 62 colorful pins.
Most importantly, this blog felt natural in a way most activities didn’t anymore. Writing, though challenging, felt like what I was meant to do, at least for now. As I shared in my very first blog post, I had felt God’s strong push, and now that I was finally listening, it seemed as natural as breathing to share His story through mine.
It wasn’t always a pretty story. I didn’t sugar-coat my struggles or questions. I knew I needed to be real. Unlike many illnesses, one battling Lyme doesn’t wake up all better one day. There are ups and downs, sometimes drastic, and life is just hard.
But it’s more beautiful, too. I am a better person today than I was a year ago. My eyes have been opened by the changes and the pain, and I have grown. Gratitude fills my heart more often than sorrow.
Friends regularly ask how I am doing. It’s a tough question to answer. After all, had I felt like this two years ago, I would’ve called in sick and wallowed on the couch. Today though, I respond, “I’m walking, so it’s a good day.”
How do I explain that the gift of mobility is enough now? That even though I may look better on the outside, inside I have pain, almost constantly? How does an outsider grasp that while today I can do the grocery shopping, tomorrow I may not be able to bathe without help?
Those who read my blog are vastly more understanding. They’ve had an intimate peek into our lives, and they smile with a knowing eye when I answer. Sometimes I forget that I’ve been so candid in my writing until a complete stranger asks me if I’ve purchased fireworks lately. To them…to you…I am not a stranger. We are connected.
So imagine my heartbreak at losing that connection.
I continued to beg and plead for access to my blog. Meanwhile, acknowledging that the password may never be retrieved, I researched the latest blogging sites and managed to secure the domain http://www.abrokencrayon.COM. An actual .COM site and identical to my original address! I was thrilled –all things considered. Starting over would be challenging but worth it.
And wouldn’t you know it, ten minutes after I purchased the new domain, PayPal located my original transaction code. I emailed it to WordPress and, BAM, the password reset email appeared in my current email address. I was back in business.
Life is funny. Sometimes not ha-ha funny, but more are-you-freaking-kidding me funny. In the two weeks I couldn’t access my blog, I truly felt a sense of loss in my life. Sure, I was frustrated with my own incompetence, but more than anything, I just wanted to write again. I needed to breathe again.
I’ve written down my password. I know we’re advised to never actually put those on paper; however, in my little world, there’s a significantly better chance of me forgetting it than someone breaking in and stealing it.
Eventually, I will transfer this site to the new one. They assure me that nothing will be lost, and my readers won’t even know it has moved. The old address will automatically become the new. I can’t wrap my brain around how that works, but I’m hopeful.
And in the meantime, I just needed to tell you…
I’ve missed you.