As a kid that grew up on the Atari 2600 gaming system, the advent of the original Nintendo Entertainment System console in 1985 was truly a life changing experience.  Video games at home FINALLY looked like the video games I played at the arcade!…  I realize that for my Millennial readers, I might have just used a bunch of words that they’re unfamiliar with, but I’m counting on either Google or Stranger Things to fill in the gaps…

Stranger Things


But as revolutionary as the original NES console was, on February 21,  1986, Nintendo really outdid themselves & changed the history of gaming forever.  Oh sure, everybody spent hours perfecting the art of beating Super Mario Brothers or Mike Tyson’s Punch Out…

tyson

But those were the gimmie’s…  EVERYBODY figured those out…  But it was the release of The Legend of Zelda that REALLY separated the men from the boys that would go on to live in their mother’s basement…


Zelda was like nothing else before it and was easily a decade or more ahead of its time in both concept & execution…  It was the literal CORNERSTONE upon which the modern Role-Playing Games of today were built.  World of Warcraft…  Final Fantasy…  They all go back to the adventures of Link & his quest to save Princess Zelda and the land of Hyrule from the evil Ganon… #geekmoment

Sheldon

But it was so much more than just an RPG game…  It was an immensely elaborate maze of worlds & underworlds that was multiple levels of depth & complexity…  You had to do much more than just beat the baddies & move on…  It was also a giant puzzle that required you to not just find hidden passages to score the items you needed to move on… You had to create the hidden passages out of thin air by knowing what to do, when to do it, & where to do it…  (Trying not to ruin it for those that might be inspired to give it a try)

AND THIS WAS ALL BEFORE AL GORE INVENTED THE INTERNET PEOPLE!!!…  You couldn’t just go to Google to find the secrets you needed to beat the game.  You had to figure it all out on your own… Or if you were lucky, you could compare notes with someone else that was further along in the journey…  But that was a rarity because the thing was so difficult that most people just gave up without finishing the game.


And the truth is… I almost quit myself…  I distinctly remember about a 3 or 4 month period in the late 80’s where I was completely stuck…  I had beaten every bad guy I could find…  Conquered every boss that dared show his face…  And all it left me with were barren worlds that offered no life and no apparent way to move forward…  I played the game for many hours a day, just wandering around trying any & everything… Which also explains my teenage social life…  But I digress…

The further truth is, that feels exactly where I’m at with God these days…  Stuck in a loop I can’t find my way out of…  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel about this, but at least the hardest part of having to admit it is over.


If you’ve read any bit of this blog, you know that I love me some Jesus…  And you also know that my walk with Christ has been less than linear…  There have been periods where I wanted nothing to do with him…  There have been periods where I have been completely ON FIRE for him…

But today, I’m somewhere else…  I’m stuck…  I love the Father, but I can’t seem to move forwards…  All of the things in our relationship that used to be so vibrant & have such depth now seem dimmer…

I read voraciously, at least for me, in my early walk with Christ… Early on, The Case for a Creator appealed to my scientific sensibilities, while Blue Like Jazz & Wild at Heart spoke deep into my heart…  Now, I read much less…

Worship has been a constant for me in my journey with Christ…  And I can still throw myself into it & connect with the Father, but its what happens after that troubles me…  It just doesn’t linger as much as it used to… It doesn’t stay with me like before…  And I desperately want it to, which is so damn frustrating!…

My community, which has been so instrumental in keeping me going over the years, has now waned to a point of almost non-existence.  A by-product of moving too frequently for starters… Of others moving, to continue the chipping away…  One huge betrayal of trust by one certain individual who shall remain nameless… And where does all that leave me?  It leaves me wondering why building community again is so incredibly harder than it was in my 30’s…

So here I am… wandering in the barren lands of my mid-40’s, desperately trying to avoid the call of the less-wild lovers, but even more desperately trying to find that hidden trinket, so I can finally move forwards…


“Love, where is your fire? I’ve been sitting here smoking away…
Making signals with sticks, and odd ends and bits, but still there’s no sign of a flame…

Impostors have been passing, offering that good-feeling glow…
But I’m holding out, for what you are about, an inferno that burns to the bone…

Some urge me to be temperate, lukewarm will never do… ~ Brooke Fraser


Its funny how you have conversations over time that aren’t really pertinent to your present day situation, but they really are meant for you…  just much later on…

I’m reminded of that now as I distinctly remember discussing with multiple friends years ago how God will use things to draw you in, but then somewhere later on, he might choose to short-circuit them to drive us into something much deeper with him.  I didn’t get that at all at the time, but I truly believe that’s where I am now… I fully believe God is in this barren place with me & is waiting patiently…  But not for me to find the magic trinket… That would be all too easy & entirely too formulaic…

No, he’s waiting for ME…  ALL of me… The good & the bad… The whole & the shattered… He wants it all & he is more than enough…

Father…  I’m sorry… I’m ready…  I’m yours…


EPILOGUE

Just to be clear, I absolutely did beat the Legend of Zelda eventually.  And moreover, on the first date with my future wife, I helped my future mother-in-law beat the game too…  I had no idea at the time that said future wife secretly hated video games, so I guess I’m lucky she chose me anyway…

Actually that wasn’t luck at all…  Just Divine Favor…

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