Maybe that’s what really draws me to the word but it’s been hanging around at the back of my head quite a bit. (Other than the strange image of placing your finger in someone else’s ear and saliva on someone else’s tongue :O)
Why do I need to be more open? Am I missing a point in my life? As I feel myself becoming defensive, I figured that this is really something I’m supposed to dwell upon.
So recently Shaun and I had this discussion about playing games on the phone. Fundamentally there isn’t anything that wrong with playing games, it’s not a direct sin like lust or gossip where your brain knows is a no-no. For myself, I’m a little obsessive, I have to get 3 stars, I have to finish the game, I long for some sense of accomplishment, and I know it’s obsessive when I close my eyes and that’s all I can think about, possible strategies and moves (It’s a game like candy crush).
So here’s the problem, it completely distracts me. When I decide to reach level 300, I spent about 2,3 hours in my days in total trying to reach that final level. That’s 2,3 hours I could have spent catching up with people, checking in, thinking about LOG, masscomm, praying for others, design stuff etc. And in my heart I knew that there was no big pay off once I hit level 100. No one was going to celebrate the victory with me, no one would would even see that as much of an achievement in life, it’s just “Congrats, you finished the game! Here’s some coins for you to pay other games!” If anything it just proves perseverance and stubbornness. At the end of the day, it is inward looking and self indulgent.
So I decided I had to just let Shaun know, and also explain why I just wanted to finish the game. I defended myself and watch him sigh in resignation. “Do what you want” he said, and that hurt. Strangely I think I wanted him to affirm me for being really self aware even though I myself knew I was being delusional.
“Ephphatha!” God said, he was calling me to be opened. And I tried by explaining as nicely as I could about what the purpose of this addiction was. My heart knew all the right answers, but my brain was not able to keep up. I hadn’t made the decision that I was just being crazy.
2 days passed and I was at level 294. I had reinstalled my game for about 20 times now so that I would have extra lives to finish the game faster. Emptiness started to fill my mind as every rationale I put forth to Shaun started disappearing except the goal to level 300.
Then, I realized that there were 340 levels. And I stopped. Because, it’s just completely pointless now. Whatever satisfaction I was chasing by reaching level 300 was pure emptiness.
It is a small adventure but I felt myself battling sin. I gave in, I bargained, I rationalized, I manipulated, I heard my voice, the one that leads astray and God’s. “Playing the game allows me to make the conscious decision to choose God time”, It has evolved into a much more elaborate battle than before, which makes me so worried about the future. But at Mass today, a very tiny voice screamed “how much do you trust in the power of goodness?”
Well, Ephphatha, a word that I may never very confidently spell, but relevant throughout my whole life. I promised to never ever play a game like candy crush and to be honest it pains me whenever I see people play games while waiting, in groups or on the train because I am reminded of such emptiness. I pray it never takes away from you like it did for me, and if it does, for the openness to be honest with yourself.
*If you didn’t really understand my whole note, if you’re lacking openness to God’s voice, stick finger in ear. haha and get rid of the distractions.