I recently endured a pretty traumatic experience for a mom; after my computer started glitching I was told I needed to wipe the hard drive and send it in for the warranty replacement. I backed everything up to an external hard drive and dropbox, thinking I was being extra careful since it was my entire hard drive! After I received my new computer, I went on to find that all the files on my external disk had saved as shortcut files, essentially leading nowhere, and my dropbox files saved as link files. So, basically, after much inquisition, consultation, and tears, I surrendered to the notion that I had in fact, not actually saved my backup anywhere.
Let me tell you, to lose a year’s worth of pictures of your baby in their first year of life is just about the most heart wrenching loss of files I could imagine. I cried over the lost memories, I cried over the video of her first steps, and I wracked my brain over and over again of how I could have possibly saved the files to an external drive, something I’ve done many, many times since high school, as shortcuts instead of the real thing.
In the end, I purchased file recovery software and was able to retrieve an old backup, basically everything up until mid May, which was the biggest blessing I could’ve imagined. I only lost about a month of pictures. I’m still sad about those few lost photos, including the ones of our anniversary trip this year, but I’ve come out on the other side with many more insights on life and a much better respect of proper backup techniques.
Just Because You Don’t Have a Picture, It Doesn’t Mean It Didn’t Happen
I definitely am a camera junkie. Anytime my daughter is doing something remotely cute, I grab my phone and snap too many pictures. I print them out nicely, and hang them on my wall. I store them on my computer, and look at them all the time. However, after thinking I lost hundreds of photos, I realized that even though I no longer had proof, it didn’t mean that those moments didn’t happen with my daughter and that we didn’t live life to the full.
Technology is Not the Most Important Thing in the World
We are in a world filled with technology. Computers, cellphones, satellite, little robots in your house that play music for you–it’s everywhere! We need it, we rely on it, and we depend on it. However, I realized when I lost access to my pictures that technology can and will fail us. It’s not infallible, and should not be depended on for anything!
Material Possessions, Even the Most Beautiful and Sentimental of Them, Are Just Material
Pictures are really the only material thing I truly am emotionally attached to. I know some people are more attached to items such as baby teeth, hats, clothes, and other mementos. I realized, however, that even my photos were material possessions, and although I was devastated to lose them, I still had the real version of them–my family. And let me tell you, that’s more than enough.
Although Memories are Wonderful, Life is About Real People
In the age of cellphones, tablets, social media, and a world driven by capturing every moment of life, it’s important to remember that a real fulfilled life is about the people you are with in that moment, how you impact them, and what you do with the time you’re given. It’s not about who can take the prettiest, most staged picture. When I thought all my photos were gone, I thought back to those people who didn’t have cameras. At best, if they were wealthy enough, they may have had one portrait of each of their children, and that was it. Do you think they thought about how much they were going to miss by not capturing each moment in a frame or do you think they lived each moment to the full potential it had, never looking back?
Truthfully, I am beyond ecstatic to have recovered (most) of my pictures. I feel extra blessed, and that God’s grace truly showered over my life. Even in those little moments, with situations that seem so trivial compared to life’s “real” problems, I truly felt the Lord understand that I was hurting, and I leaned on him for comfort. I know it sounds dramatic, but I was really dealing with a loss in my heart. It was a beautiful moment when I experienced that God does really care about the things on this earth that hurt us, even when they are small, and that he does want to bless those who trust Him.
I learned quite a bit in that short weekend, including how to back up my stuff much better! I still don’t know what happened to the original files, as I tested the drag and drop technique that I had used before and it worked perfectly that time around. Perhaps it was the glitchy computer, or God using something very near and dear to my heart to get my attention and teach me some things about life. Either way, I am holding on to my mama memories a little bit closer these days, and I am living the moments of life a little bit larger.
I’ll end with this–live life to the full in the moment, being truly present as it’s happening, appreciate material possessions for what they are, backup your files to multiple sources including one internet source, and for the love of all things baby, make sure your files don’t get saved as shortcuts! And, if you ever need help retrieving deleted files off an external hard drive, I’m your girl.
How about you? Ever lost precious photos due to some technological failure?