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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Digital Detox (04/24/14)

TITLE: Ivan
By Maura J. Merrigan
04/30/14


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The stress was too much for me to bear. Tossing and turning from the throes that stung my spine and barraged my brain, he was the only one who eased the pain. Settling into the sheets, I had to maneuver gingerly to avoid the bedroom from splitting into savage spins. Once positioned and a few whirlwinds passed, he distracted me for hours upon hours, diverging me from maddening moods. He sought the psalms and sang the hymns for me; prayed the prayers and read the letters of long lost friends. There at my side he arranged a haven of happiness to see me through each harrowing hour.

My two teens would arrive home from school and find me absorbed in his musings. I tried to hide in my hectic hypocrisy, for I always had told them hanging around with “his kind” all the time was never any good for us. “Mom! You´re with Ivan again”! They protested.

Ivan first came to our home a few years ago. I repeatedly asked my husband long before I became ill, if he could be a part of our lives. He wasn’t fully convinced he would be any good for us, however one Christmas eve he managed to bring him home. As my husband presented him to me I quickly removed his handsome red silk bow tie and screamed, “I’ve an Ipad” I’ve an Ipad!” I waltzed a delirious happy dance around tinsel and evergreen. My teens crazy with laughter, remarked that I had just given an electronic device a first ever personal name, Ivan. It stuck.

This electronic gizmo had now touched us on a very personal level. Ivan was our bestie. He helped in the kitchen, in the garage, with scripture, math and guitar lessons. However much he was adored though, I was a stickler for hard pressed rules; putting priorities first before anyone could take him out for a spin. I never would have thought after all that time preaching on digital detox that it would one day be thrown in my face.

It all began when out of the blue, I started having excruciating headaches and was told I had a cerebral leak. The only possible way for it to heal was to stay on twenty four hour bed rest for months on end. No one was a more loyal helper than my dear husband. He cooked, cleaned and helped the kids with homework and chores, and when keeping the household together, Ivan was on duty.

Ivan was loyal to no one else but me during that time. Consistently lying on one’s side, bulky computers were no match for him. He was my medical researcher, my prayer partner and my social butterfly. I never tired of him. Anything I wanted to know, hear, sing, or find comfort in, Ivan did it all for me. Nevertheless, the eyes and the brain do need a reasonable rest, so every once in a while, I found me a little alone time.

It was during these quiet times I was allowed periods of sitting up and my headaches began to dramatically cease. It was time again for a real detox. I would announce when Ivan was going on hiatus and plug him in for a good long re-charging vacation. “Absolutely no techno allowed” my husband and I would warn.
Then I would go a little green on everyone. Sipping my spinach smoothie in the lawn chair, I insisted we all gather around for some peace with God. With toes twirling in the grass and smoothie swaying in hand, I confirmed that this was the best detox moment ever. I was with my family on a gorgeous spring day and headache free. The silence was scenic. Only a few distant bird hymns to be heard and barely a branch bustled in the breeze….I blew words in the air:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul…”

“Oh Lily”, I pleaded to my daughter, “ Would you sing the song on that psalm for us?”

“Um, I don’t´really know all the lyrics by heart mom.” She sighed.

“Then play it for us Dan.” My husband suggested to our son.

“Uh, I don’t really know those chords off the top of my head,” he mumbled plucking his guitar.

A pause of silence slammed us into laughter, simultaneously singing, “Ivan”.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Camille (C D) Swanson 05/03/14
Thank you for sharing your story, which is well written and so completely on topic.

I'm so glad to know your headaches have lessened in severity, and I will keep you in prayer for a full recovery. In your case, however...I will say "technology" served its purpose well!

Wonderfully poignant (and fun as well) read my friend.

God bless you abundantly~
Larry Whittington05/06/14
I hope all is well and that Ivan is helping each in the family grow according to God's will.

I liked the turn around at the end. It was spontaneous.

I enjoyed the easy read and was glad to see health return.
Camille (C D) Swanson 05/08/14
Maura, a very well deserved win!! Congratulations. So happy for you...

God bless~
Maura J. Merrigan05/08/14
Thanks Camille, I am floored! And very pleased! I'll write you PM
Tracy Nunes 05/09/14
This really drew me in. First to figure out who Ivan was and second the poignancy of your story. I loved it! Congratulations!