Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Pause Game"

My son John, age 7, is a very intense person. When he is engaged in something, whatever it is, he is in there 300%. When he plays "Yankee Doodle" on the piano he plays it up and down the keyboard in every octave, then tests out a variation on the black keys. Sometimes he'll do it all as fast as he can. He reminds me a lot of my younger brother, Mike, who when he was a kid used to wander around the house all the time totally in his own little world. Mike was a sports freak (still is, I think). When watching a game on TV he would flop around on the floor, a basket-case of overblown emotion, his life hanging in the balance of what his team (a Chicago team) would do. He would sob and cry furiously when they lost.

John reminds me of Mike in how he thumps around the house, making sound effects to the imaginary battles going on in his head. With Mike it was more sports-oriented. He'd be walking spasmodically around the house, occasionally taking a tumble or a dive (purposely), mumbling under his breath a very soft sounding sportscaster sort of sound, like a radio turned way down while a game is being played. Then, getting louder it became audible,"...and, and, he shoots--and, he SCORES!!!!" Perhaps a somersault would follow.

John is just beginning to get into sports. For him it's always been fighting. Warfare--and that's what my bigger boys always loved too. I think they inherited it from their dad, who introduced them to games like "Brave and Noble Knights" and built castles with them from an early age. Since John could just toddle around he's been shooting--everything. He would make shooting sound effects from morning til night every day. Sometimes it's guns, sometimes bows-and-arrows (which are usually plastic coat hangers). I have spent weeks of my life, literally, yelling at John to stop spitting (the sound effects).

So now that he has started watching sports with his dad it is nice to have his imaginary warfare resembling something different than blasting people to bits constantly. Last night as he was going to bed he announced happily, " I know what I am going to play tomorrow--my football game!" So now he really is starting to remind me of Mike.

Anyway, whatever John is doing, he is doing it with gusto. Whether it is building with blocks, reading a book, or playing computer games. When he is focused in on something it is very difficult to pry him away. One thing I spotted immediately (from his having older brothers) is his complete obsession with video games. He is one of these kids who gets hopelessly addicted and becomes like a junkie--lying, cheating, anything to play more nintendo. So, of course, we had to take it away. I really think he was relieved. It's too much pressure on a kid to expect him to get a grip on that, really.

However, because of his experience with video games, John knows what "pause game" means. He knows about the pause button. So one day when he was wildly entrenched in some activity, and I needed him to come eat his peanut butter sandwich, (though he was not playing video--just a board game or something) I said, "Come on, John, Pause Game." That phrase instantly broke his concentration. He understood my lingo. He got it then that he could come back to his activity later. He "paused the game."

So now "Pause Game" has become a common phrase in our household. In fact, John and Daniel can be heard saying it many times throughout the day, "Pause Game!" Whenever I need anyone around here to stop what they're doing and listen to me, I just say, "Pause Game," or even just "Pause." It's part of our family-speak.

But you know, we have been having lots of stuff going on around here lately. I mean the grown-ups--my husband and I. We needed to buy a new dishwasher. The tires on my car were shot. Our telephone was broken. We still don't have a flatscreen TV. And several other items could be added to that list. But because we pretty much had to buy the dishwasher, as the door is so rusted out it just flops open and could hurt someone, and one of my tires was completely flat, we decided to subscribe to consumerreports.com.

Well, next thing you know we are lining up items from here to Kansas that we want to buy. Now we have the make & model of everything. We know which is the best dishwasher, the best phone, the best TV, the best tires...and it's just making me itchy because we need to go to all these different stores to look at these things. And right now I can't drive (long story). So the only way to go to these places and look at all this stuff is after my husband comes home from work, and after we eat dinner, and then we have to schlep the kids along...or on the weekend.

Saturday the weather was horrible. And the kids were kind of sick. So, I was frustrated. There was Sunday, but, lately I've been really convicted about keeping the Sabbath. It is one of the ten commandments. I mean, I know we're not under the law, but the commandments are good. I don't know of another one people would so casually blow off. Just because it doesn't seem a big deal to us doesn't mean it's not a big deal to God. And that's just it. I kept reading it over and over in my daily Bible reading: In Deuteronomy 12,in Isaiah 56. I knew that I should not be transacting this business on the Lord's Day. I knew that, for me, for this time.

So I wrestled a bit with Him about it. Like John, I had my mind set on what I wanted to do. I was intent on getting those things I thought I needed and did not want to wait for some unknown future time. But thankfully the wrestling match was not a hard one. I gave in pretty easily. The blessing I received was complete peace and contentment, no longer arguing with myself about the whole mess.

Sunday the kids were kind of sick so we didn't even go to church-- so they wouldn't spread their germs in those little closed-in Sunday school classrooms. However we still could have gone shopping, but we didn't. Even when I got kind of bored. But something neat happened. My husband finally got around to fixing that broken phone. Saved $65. And there are all those other purchases that we "paused" on, until maybe a better time. (Maybe never).

Also I prayed about a problem I had with a friend, but didn't want to have to confront her with. I got this overwhelming peace to where I knew the Lord was going to handle it for me. And He did! Got the email this morning. I feel that God is smiling on me. Not that He has to, or that it's a reward. He just does that sometimes. Like when he lets me see a cardinal AND a bluejay at the same time. I feel like He was telling me, on Sunday, Pause Game, and see what Life is really like.

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