Freedom in exceptions

August 05, 2018

The subtle clack of the keys joins the chorus of beeps and whirs of medical devices in my daughter’s hospital room. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in January and quickly had two tumors removed. We’re now over half way through her chemo treatments, and we’re all getting used to this as our current reality.

One evening my wife and I were talking about some scenarios that we had encountered through this process that could be improved through technology. Working at Microsoft, this is a common past-time for my wife and I as we flush out various ideas to different depths. Some are more viable than others, but this one - it didn’t matter about its viability; it offered me something else — an opportunity.

So I began coding.

I never noticed it before; maybe due to apathy or preferring to look at the success of overcoming a problem rather than the problems themselves, but there is a beauty; I’d maybe even go so far as saying a freedom in the exceptions. I’m sure many of us became hooked to programming when building out our first “Hello World” scenario.

Each of us have our moments of frustration, struggle and humility wrought by these exceptions. But I find it remarkable how I can still achieve that same rush of accomplishment as I cross off another hurdle to a clear console. It doesn’t matter how often I do it, each time that I get an opportunity to learn something new, face the challenges and overcome them - that rush returns. “I did it.” Working in web tech this is a common scenario as the tech is ever evolving at an amazing rate. When building out a prototype for this solution I used this as an opportunity to learn Vue (it’s all the rage right now) and I enjoyed various moments of “ahaa”.

I loved being able to explore a world where problems existed that I can solve. In a season of life where it feels like I have absolutely no control, and am met with fears that I don’t have any desire to confront; I find freedom in the exceptions that rendered in my dev tools. Even though they are remarkably un-important in the grand scheme of things, it gave me a sense of control.

So if you’re banging you’re head against a problem today, remember your “Hello World” moment. You’ve been here before, you’ve got this, and to find the freedom and joy that the solution will produce.

Please share you’re most recent victory, or ahaa moment on twitter