(approximate read time: 4 minutes)
While far from your garden variety, basement denizen, game-a-holic… I DO enjoy picking up the Playstation or XBox controller and wreaking virtual havoc. Adrenaline surges, my primal kill-the-bear-for-a-trophy-and-skin-him-with-my-awesome-manliness instincts explosively emerge. I threaten all my friends, whether I win or not, and when I DO win, you’d think I’d actually conquered someone in a real battle.
Video games are fun. An escape. A pleasure. A delight. And they come in all types and genres and sub-genres.
One of my favorite games is the critically acclaimed Star Wars Battlefront series, recently reintroduced via EA Games with a brand new take on the iconic franchise.
As expected (although not necessarily desired), the re-imagining of the popular game series came with an entirely different playing structure. Some stuff was cool (jet pack options, and melee moves). Some stuff was blah (forced charge card use, and pitiful Jedi maneuverability). Some stuff was utterly confusing (you can’t throw a grenade out of your personal shield, but you can definitely be punched out in it). The nuances of these elements have been pretty hit or miss, but the overall gameplay has managed to hang onto and entertain a large core base of fans. At its heart, its fun and easy to pick up.
One really interesting inclusion, though, is something they’ve dubbed “power ups.”
Now, power ups are little blue bubbles scattered randomly across the playing arena. Sometimes there are many, sometimes there aren’t. When you run into them, you’re granted a special bonus weapon of some sort, like a massive thermal detonator or auto-turret. Something that slants the gameplay in your favor if you have the wits to apply it correctly.
And something quite curious dawned on me.
Whether we run into the power ups or not, we keep playing the game. Even BIGGER than that- we don’t denounce the creators of the game, or say that they don’t exist (obviously we’re there indulging the experience). Power ups or no power ups, we KEEP PLAYING THE GAME.
Yet in life… when certain blessings do not come our way… we are quick to discredit the existence of God. We are swift of tongue in our redefining life itself, as if our disappointment bore the necessary power to reshape reality as it truly is. But what if “blessings” or “providence” are like power ups? Some we get, some we don’t. Sometimes it’s random. Sometimes we can set ourselves up for the win- other times, it seems like no matter what we do or how long we “play” that no blessings are in sight.
In Battlefront, we are focused on the objective. Power ups or not, I’ve got to achieve a certain goal. A very SPECIFIC goal. In life… very few of us have specific goals. Very few of us even know what we’re aiming for. Heck, a good amount of us won’t even admit the existence of God, despite zero evidence to the contrary.
However, what if we were to… take a nice hard look at this game called life. What if we were to see a specific goal to head towards. If we were to firmly grip our controller (gifts, talents, abilities) and see what we could make ourselves do. How we could apply ourselves fully. If we were to admit that God can exist and also not grant us every blessing. That hurt and disappointment don’t have to shade our eyes against this operational reality around us.
What if we didn’t live for the blessings, but instead concentrated on playing the best game possible. Might more blessings come our way? Might we appreciate more fondly? Might we divine some connection between blessings and the human life? Quite possibly so! Anything is possible when purpose, not perfect, is the obsession. Life isn’t supposed to be perfect and pain free. And, frankly, if we got every single blessing we wanted, it would destroy us the way a year’s supply of candy and ice cream for dinner would destroy the teeth and gastro-intestinal systems of a five year old.
“No” is part of life.
Not getting the blessing every time.
But learning is also a part of life.
Understanding our relationships with blessings and the deliverer of them.
Keep playing the game friend. Blessings are power ups, designed to enhance gameplay… but they are not the point of the game. The point of the game is to complete the objective. What is your objective?