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lessons from a video game

define: transitive verb 1a : to determine or identify the essential qualities or meaning of; b : to discover and set forth the meaning of; 2 a : to fix or mark the limits of.

Last weekend I learned to play a new video game (not that I play many at all, my favourite being a boat racing one - Hydro Thunder woohoo!) that involved characters fighting each other in kickboxing. It was fun at first as I learned all the moves and got in a few punches and won a spar or two. Then the person showing me the game changed from being my teacher to being my opponent and *argh* I lost time after time after time and pretty soon had racked up a score of 14 - 0. So I tried to play the solo game against the computer and after a few good rounds, ended up with a character I could not beat and each time I tried, I did worse and worse until it seemed pointless to even try. So I gave up, threw the controller down, let my anger and frustration show, even shed a few tears and in general wondered why I ever tried to learn this stupid game. I felt inadquate and slow and slightly foolish and stupid. I hate those feelings.

Sunday night at church I was listening to God during worship and he asked me why, "What do you let define you?" Will you let wins and losses, other people's comments and difficult situations, strong emotions and harsh words tell you who you are as a person and direct your actions and attitudes? Or will you let the character and voice of your creator and lover be the determining factor in your decisions and reactions? I pick the latter, because the former just tosses me around like a leaf in the wind and I lose myself in the turmoil.

This is a tour guy in the Quaker House in Philadelphia.


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