Wednesday, July 25, 2012
A Summer Shift - James Harrison
Last summer something changed in me. Something big.
I want to share with you a bit of my recreational life. I am a pretty easy-going guy most of the time, and I’m content to read here and there, play sports when the weather’s fine, and even ride my bicycle around. Now, if there’s a free or cheap place to swim, I’m in! But usually, when I’m not working, and especially if the weather’s not good, most of my time is dominated by video games. Be it PlayStation 2 or on my PC, I’m swinging a bat, shooting bad guys, or strategizing world domination all through my fingertips. The hours fly by in this way, and very rarely—if ever—do I laugh out loud or play these video games with friends. It is quite a lonely hobby the more I think about it.
See, growing up in the city I never had my own car (well, there was one for a bit that my brother gave me, but it broke down at least a dozen times) so I was pretty grounded if I wasn’t with friends. Outside of sports, my after-school time was spent playing video games. Video games are interactive and I found it much more preferable to watching tv for hours, since I could have control, creativity, and stimulation.
A few years later I came to a 9-to-5 job in Alberta, Canada, where the weather is typical mountain weather—unpredictable; and the winters are excruciatingly long. The best winter remedy? Leveling up my Dwarf Champion, suiting him with armor, and gaining a legacy defeating digital foes! See, there was exploring, fighting, equipping, and even socializing; a recipe for fun.
When summer finally hit I was given the job of grounds keeper. This involved mowing the whole property regularly and making any improvements I wanted. Without any attempt, vow, or oath I simply stopped playing video games! For months! I was out of the office and in the sun; I was tired at the end of the day, getting hard hands, and learning how to change oil, fix and maintain a riding mower, and most of all, do what I deemed best. “Those trees are a pain to walk under—I’ll trim off the lower branches!” “These bushes are out of control—I’ll cut them down to height!” “Say, this basketball hoop is a joke—I’ll build a new one! I don’t know how now, but I’ll learn.”
Work became life-giving because I was being creative, stimulated, and I was exploring and learning the details of the property. I came to own something. That’s never happened to me before. I loved it! So without trying my recreation time became reading, writing, playing and creating songs on the guitar—things that give me life! I have the chance to be the grounds keeper this summer, and I know God will move in my heart again. Though I still play video games, last summer was the first time I’ve ever felt like I was spending my time, living my life, like an adult… like a man. I felt capable. There was a shift. I was changed.