The most dependable distraction known to humanity is Tetris. The game is timeless! It is one of the most potent digital addictions of all time. When Alexey Pajitnov invented the game in 1984, he never expected the game to be a world-wide phenomenon (he actually distributed the game to his friends free-of-charge). But when the rights to the game sold to Microsoft and Nintendo, the Russian game-maker instantly became a member of the Gaming Hall of Fame. Not only did he create a massive hit, but he was also the first Russian to sell computer software to the United States during the cold war. That’s how great of a game it is…it literally paused a war!
With this back-story in mind, I hope you won’t judge me too strongly for turning to Tetris whenever I need a lite distraction. It’s true; if I am sitting by Jesher’s incubator, and I have already read him a story, you will probably see me spaced-out, dead-set on breaking my high score. I love Tetris! I love it because it represents the dream-life, a life where I get to decide where and when to place whatever might float my way.
Tetris offers all of the benefits that life does not afford. You get to see what is coming before it comes. You are able to forgo using a piece until a more convenient time presents itself. You know when the game will speed up, and you can always press pause if the game begins to overwhelm you. When you fail, no worries…just start from the beginning (with no consequences). When you get frustrated, no problem…just come back when you feel like playing again. Tetris is simple, yes, but it has stood the test of time because, at some level, we all wish we could piece life together.
If life was more like this epic game, I’m pretty sure I would be one of the best at it. I would know exactly where to put each piece. I would be known as a master strategist, one who could see two, three, or even four moves ahead. I would be prepared, and nothing would catch me by surprise. I would handle the increased speed with ease, and I would humbly halt the game whenever it began to overwhelm me. If life was like Tetris, I would circumvent the challenges. If life was like Tetris, I would make sure that Lhorraine had an ideal pregnancy. If life was like Tetris, I would find a way to annul Jesher’s gestation complications with a perfectly placed maneuver. If life was like Tetris, I would control every piece, protecting my family from hurt, harm, and danger.
But life isnt’ like Tetris. There is no cue box that informs us what’s headed our way. We can’t decide if and when we will face an oncoming obstacle. We don’t know when life will speed up, and we can’t always pause life whenever we feel overwhelmed. Life just comes at us, and, on the fly, we all have to cope, deal, adjust, brace, and push-through. Make no mistake about it–life and Tetris have as much in common as ‘reality’ and ‘fantasy.’ And that’s why I love the 80s computer game so much; it entertains me long enough to distract me from my current reality…it invites me to fantasize about a non-existent place where everyone gets to control their falling pieces.
Here is Jesher’s current medical report:
EYES–Jesher is now reaching the age where he will begin having eye exams. Due to his need for high levels of oxygen at such a young age, he is at risk for retinal damage. These eye exams will determine if his eyes have been able to cope with the increased oxygen levels and form without interruption or dysfunction. IN THE NAME OF JESUS, PLEASE CLAIM THAT NO DISEASE, DYSFUNCTION, OR DEFICIT WILL MANIFEST ITSELF IN ANY PART OF OUR SON.
BLOOD–Jesher’s liver tests came back negative! Praise the Lord! The doctors have confirmed that his liver is functioning well; however, they still don’t know why his body is not producing the necessary volume of platelets. The have tested for infection, blood clots, and immune reactions, but they have not identified anything that should inhibit this production function. They now believe that his bone marrow, which is responsible for producing these platelets, is still developing and not yet able to produce platelets at the correct pace. PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO SEND A WORD TO JESHER’S MARROW AS HE PROMISED TO DO IN PSALMS 63:5.
BRAIN–Jesher’s ventricles are lessening in size. This is a major answer to prayer! However, the blood in his brain is not diminishing which is still causing concern. When he was born, he suffered a level 2 bleed on his right side and a level 4 bleed on his left side. So far, neither of these bleeds have resolved. Yes, he is no longer bleeding, but we need the level of blood in his brain to decrease as his ventricle size decreases.
Tetris only resembles life in one way: you have to engage it in order to improve. Successful living requires intentional and frequent engagement. And here is where living in fantasy becomes problematic. Fantasy is how we escape life. It is a vehicle that we use to distance ourselves from the real, the actual, and the truth. Fantasy is how we re-create our dreams and amuse our sensibilities. Fantasy is like dessert–it is meant to be a small departure from nutritional density. But if fantasy becomes the norm, reality will become the lie.
So what’s your Tetris? What’s your fantasy-infused distraction? How do you escape the harsh realities of life? Whatever it is, make sure you keep a critical eye on it. Make sure it hasn’t become a drug. Calculate how much time you spend thinking about it, playing with it, or consuming it. Be honest in your assessment. Measure it, and see how often you are running to it for comfort. I took these same steps, and you know what? I think I’m playing a bit too much Tetris. So I’m going to take a break from my Tetris fantasy. I’m going to redistribute my time, and I’m going to trade in my escapist habits for more intentionally-engaged moments.
“But God knows the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10