I’m afraid I have to admit to a new addiction in my life. Well, maybe it is really an old addiction that just didn’t have a chance to get out for twenty years. Tetris.
A couple of years ago my parents bought us a Wii. My girls love it, but they have a little trouble taking care of the game discs and the controllers. So a few weeks ago I took it out of the playroom and moved it into the living room.
My wife works nights, and with the television season wrapping up, I find that I run into a lot of extra time alone, able to do whatever I want. I like to read and I’m trying to finish writing my next book. But for some reason – yeah, I know what it is; I’m a pastor, after all – I find myself drawn to the Wii.
For those who have no idea what Tetris is, it is a video game created for the original Nintendo system in the 1980’s. You could describe it as putting various puzzle shapes together to fill lines, which eliminates those lines. The goal is to see how long you can last. As you eliminate more lines, the pieces that are dropping from the top of the screen come faster and faster. At least, that is what Tetris used to be.
I found bought a downloadable version for the Wii a little while back. This is not so simple as the 80’s version of Tetris. Now you can play head-to-head up to four players, challenge a brainiac computer, or fill in shadow shapes with the puzzle pieces. It is far more complex, and way more addictive.
If you are wondering what this bizarre confession has to do with your spiritual life, let me tell you about what happens to my brain when I play Tetris. No, it doesn’t come out scrambled or look like the egg-in-the-frying-pan commercial from the same time period. What keeps my thumbs moving on the controller each game is this belief: “If I take just a little more time, I can save this; I can win.”
In life, I often tell myself the same thing. How about you? Do you ever believe this line? Here are some other ways we tell it to ourselves:
- If I have just a little more time, I can figure this out.
- If I have just a little more time, I can make it better.
- If I have just a little more time, I can train myself to be different.
- If I have just a little more time, I can work my way into a better situation.
We use our own understanding, using earthly wisdom to try and solve problems that are often spiritual in nature. We use our highly trained and intellectual brains coupled with self-confidence and determination. And what do we have in the end? The same mess, or a worse one.
I know. I like to fix things, and I like to think that I have a pretty decent brain in my head. All too often, though, my self-confidence and determination, better translated as pride and more pride, get in the way of the real solution to my problem.