Giving thanks for a computer game
“The kids want to pool their money to buy a computer game,” my wife informed me. “They’ve been very helpful lately.”
“Pool their money?” I thought to myself. “That means they will … share.”
Sharing does not come naturally to the human species. It comes even less naturally to siblings. Some will blame it on evolution. Others blame it on the fallen nature. I’ll blame it on both. Sharing holds a strong enough aversion for siblings that two sources are better than one.
Asking siblings to share a computer game is like asking two cats to share the same space. We once introduced a kitten to a cat we had for several years. The older cat said, “I’m sorry, sir, this is my space. You are obviously in the wrong space.”
Actually, that is my translation of the noises that sounded like a room full of beginning violinists tuning their instruments.
“Do you think they can actually share it?” I asked.
She thought for a moment. “Probably not,” she replied, “but it’s worth a try.”
“Okay,” I said. “Let them give it a try.”
I loathe video games. When I was in seminary, my sister sent me a video game console for my birthday. It was fun. I would set a timer and play after class until the timer went off. Then, it was back to the books. One of my friends would come over and play for hours.
“Don’t you have papers to write?” I asked.
“I’ll get to them,” he responded.
He was on academic probation the next semester.
I sat down and downloaded the game to my son’s computer, which is also a family computer, that night. I watched as the bar of doom proceeded across the screen, signaling the progress of the download. All the while I imagined the bickering on the horizon.
When I returned from work the next day, I saw the most amazing sight. My daughter and son were sitting in front of the computer working out the game. What was most amazing was that my son, the little brother, was giving instructions. My daughter, the older sister, was listening, and taking his advice.
“I’m in the wrong house,” I thought, looking around to make sure I was really in my house, and these were really my children.
If you are a younger brother, you will understand this reaction. My sister never, under any circumstances, thought I had any worthwhile advice until we were in college. It’s evolution, or the fallen nature of humanity, or something like that.
There they were working together, valuing each other’s advice. I know one thing I will give thanks for in a little over a week. It is always a blessing when I come home and everyone is at home and happy. Maybe the children pooling their money for a computer game was not a bad idea.
I have been a priest for 16 years. I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010. If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.