I’ve balanced on this abyss far too many times before, so I tell myself, “Glenn! Deep breaths. Deepbreaths. Focus. Focus! It will be alright. You can get through this.”
Through what? Have I lost my way, and I find myself in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, precariously perched on a White Pine branch some 10 feet up in the air, with a pack of ravenous wolves circling the base of the tree, eyeing me up for their next meal? No.
Am I in the city, where I’ve jumped out of my car, and I’m standing behind my car door using it as a shield, because a group of gang-bangers just screeched their car to a halt in front of me, blocking the street? And now they’re marching toward me like a pack of snarling wild dogs, swinging numchucks menacingly around their heads and fingering their ninja stars as they move in for the kill? No.(Although this actually happened many years ago, when my family and I lived in Fort Wayne. I can tell you about it over a cup of coffee sometime.)
So why is panic paralyzing my mind? Why is a vice-grip of terror tightening across my shoulders?
Because I’m sitting at my computer, trying to log into the WELS website, “My WELS Cloud.” I need to update my WELS profile that includes my address, contact information, and divine call status. But I’m stuck—yet again--at the screen that demands my username and password. I can’t remember either one.
How can I? The username was assigned to me, but what, oh what, was it? I haven’t used it in months, and I’m not supposed to write it down anywhere lest nefarious villains break into my tar-paper shack
and steal it.
And the password? How in the world am I supposed to remember that?! It’s supposed to be at least 12 characters long, but somewhere north of 256 characters is preferred. (A slight exaggeration.) It is to be comprised of an indecipherable combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Not a word that can be found in a dictionary or the name of a person, character, product, or organization. Significantly different from your previous passwords. (This is the actual recommendation – practically verbatim, from Microsoft!)
And while you are punching in this mind-numbing, impossible-to-remember algorithm on your computer (all while hiding your keyboard from prying eyes—which also means you can’t see it), you need to keep repeating this mantra: “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home,” while clicking your red ruby slippers three times.
I’m doomed. There’s nothing left to do but call the WELS Help Desk—again. Perhaps this time our WELS Chief Technology Officer, Martin Spriggs, will handle my distress call personally. And he will hear me whimper—yet again, “It’s far more difficult to access the WELS cloud website, than it will be for me to get into heaven!”
"How so, Glenn?” he will respond.
“Because when I stand before the pearly gates to go home to heaven, all I will need to remember is “Jesus! Jesus! Only Jesus!”
And that, my dear friends, is all you will need to remember, too. No clicking of ruby slippers. No indecipherable passwords. No saint required for your username. No checklist of good works or pious intentions. Just Jesus. Only Jesus.
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, EHV)
What a relief!
Rev. Glenn Schwanke