On January 1, after I went to Mass and had lunch with my family, I headed to my office with the intention of cleaning up the stacks of files, papers, magazines, audio CDs, and other miscellaneous items that had piled up during 2015.
At my office, I have ten computers that are connected to a server. The server is a heavy-duty computer that is built specifically to store data and to act as a main hub for the computers that are connected to it. Each of my employees has a computer at their desk. Whenever anyone in my office creates a document or works on a software program, the data is saved and stored on the server.
The server has networking software that allows several people to work within the same software program at the same time. When data is saved on a computer, someone on another computer is able to see the saved data on their computer. One example of how this works is our calendar program. If one of my employees schedules an appointment for me, as soon as the data is saved, I am able to see the appointment on my computer.
The server has two power cords that have to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead of plugging the power cords directly into a wall outlet, they are plugged into an “APC Smart-UPS 1000” unit. “UPS” stands for “unlimited power supply.”
The UPS has eight outlets that are built into the back of the unit. In addition to the two power cords from the server being plugged into the UPS, there are other electronic hardware devices that are plugged into the UPS, such as a firewall that protects the server from hackers, and a router that allows the computers that are connected to the server to access the Internet.
The primary purpose of the UPS is to act as a battery backup in case we lose electrical power. If the electricity goes off, the UPS provides battery power to the server and other electronic devices for up to an hour and forty minutes. If the electrical power is not restored within an hour, the UPS has built-in software that shuts down the server so that no data is lost.
While most small businesses only have one UPS attached to a server, I have two of them. Each UPS weighs about 50 pounds. They’re positioned on the floor next to the server, with one UPS stacked on top of the other. The reason I have two of them is because I’m concerned that if one fails to work properly when electrical power is lost, the other one will be available to supply power to the server and to properly shut it down if the power is not restored within an hour.
Six months ago, a red indicator light on one of the UPS’s started flashing. The UPS also started making a beeping sound. When I investigated why the unit was flashing and beeping, I discovered that the battery inside the unit needed to be replaced. I did some quick research on the Internet and found that replacement batteries were only sold in pairs.
I purchased a pair of batteries and when they arrived, I followed the instructions and replaced the battery in the UPS. The battery weighed about four pounds and looked like a miniature car battery. It was about six inches long, four inches high, and four inches deep.
After I replaced the battery and put the UPS back together, the beeping and flashing continued for a couple of days and then went away. I assumed at the time that the battery had to be charged and that it took a couple of days for the battery to become completely charged.
Last week, the same UPS started flashing and beeping again. Because the beeping is not very loud, the only time I heard it was when I walked past the small closet-sized room where the server is located.
When I was in my office on January 1, I walked past the server room a few times and heard the beeping. I decided to replace the battery, which I estimated would take less than 10 minutes of my time. I was irritated because I had replaced the battery in that same UPS six months ago and felt as though it should have lasted a lot longer. I pulled off the front cover of the UPS and removed the faceplate. I then pulled the battery out, unhooked the two wires that were connected to it, and hooked up the new battery.
While I was in the process of replacing the cover plate, I accidentally dropped a screw inside the UPS. I pulled the face plate back off and looked for the screw. I couldn’t find it, so I pulled the battery toward me and looked some more. I still couldn’t find the screw, so I pulled the battery all the way out of the unit, which caused one of the wires that was attached to the battery to disconnect from the UPS.
When I looked inside the UPS to try to figure out how to connect the wire back up, I saw a second battery. Of course, at that moment, it dawned on me that the reason the batteries were sold in pairs was because when a unit started beeping, both batteries needed to be replaced. Prior to seeing the second battery, I had no idea that the UPS had two batteries. The batteries are black and the inside of the unit is also black, so it appears as though the second battery is part of the inside of the unit.
I removed the second battery, found the screw, and replaced the second battery with the extra battery. I then hooked up the battery that I had placed in the unit six months ago and the beeping stopped.
If I had not dropped the screw, I would have never discovered the second battery in the unit. What would have happened is that the unit would have continued to beep and I would have assumed that the batteries were defective and ordered new ones. When the new batteries arrived, I would have replaced the first battery again and the beeping would have continued. At that point, I would have called my computer technician who charges $120 an hour and always seems to take at least two hours to figure anything out.
What happened on January 1st happens to me all the time. The pattern is always the same. I have a problem that I’m trying to solve and an event occurs that causes me to think differently about the problem, discover something I didn’t know, or reevaluate the problem from a different angle. Consequently, I am able to solve the problem without having to go through the frustration and expense of having to learn something “the hard way.”
Whenever something like this happens, I have a sense that the Blessed Virgin Mary was by my side assisting me with the problem. If she had been physically present while I was working on the UPS, she would have told me that there were two batteries in the unit that needed to be replaced. Since she wasn’t there physically, she arranged for an event to occur which caused me to take the additional steps that were necessary to lead me to discover the true nature of the problem.
This battery problem that I just described to you happened on the feast day of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. There is no higher or more glorious title that can be given to a human being than the title of “Mother of God.” That particular title was given to Mary at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D., and is the oldest feast of Mary that is celebrated by the Catholic Church.
I frequently write about the Blessed Virgin Mary because of the daily impact she has on my life. I know from personal experience that she is always by my side assisting me. I am convinced that her constant presence is primarily due to the fact that I interact with her every day through her preferred method of communication: The Holy Rosary.
You may think that my experience with the UPS was a minor incident or that the discovery I made while looking for the screw was a mere coincidence. I wish I could tell you about a significant problem that I had last week that was also solved on January 1st. The problem caused me a great deal of anxiety. It appeared as though the problem was going to severely damage a very important business relationship. If the damage had occurred, it would have had a negative impact on both me and my wife Georgette. I can’t share the details of the problem with you. All I can say is that an event occurred on January 1st that completely eliminated the problem.
It’s been my experience that less than five percent of all Catholics pray a daily rosary. I am completely baffled as to why more Catholics do not incorporate this simple prayer into their daily lives. If you’re one of those individuals who always has an excuse as to why you are unable to pray a daily Rosary, it is my strong recommendation that you make it one of your resolutions for the new year. Make the commitment and then keep it for the next 365 days. Trust me on this. If you commit to interacting with the Mother of God on a daily basis through her Rosary, she will assist you in ways that you could never imagine.
Happy New Year!