This week has posed some challenges. The example I offer might seem esoteric, or out of reach for some who read the blog. Yet, some of you are familiar with the 1980s hit Mario Brothers, and the sequel Super Mario Brothers so I am going to step-out and share a spinning reflection. Friday night I was talking to a friend and had a moment when the realities of our lives fit into the Mario series. Sometimes things just seem to fit the game so well, except rather than attempting to save Princess Toadstool we are questing in, and moving ever toward the kingdom of God. I recall being a teen and staying up all night playing Mario Bros. with friends, we would play until we were to bleary-eyed to move-on. I was never a strong player (my game was Tetris), yet most of the time the challenge continued to draw me into the frenzy of competition. I would work so hard to level up, only to be beaten at the end of the level by some giant menacing creature (the cool thing about this game is that you accumulate lives and do not have to go back to the very beginning each time your character is beaten). Then, there would be that moment, when by fluke, I won against the beast and moved ahead.
Last year I began playing Super Mario Bros. for Wii and found that this experience continues to hold my attention (and still this is not my best game). One thing I do not remember from the early years, is that you can work with friends toward completion of the game (yay, this game is now a team sport). The exhilaration that follows making it through a level is generally short-lived as you and your partner race toward something unknown. However, these moments of moving forward allow for Mario and crew to take with them everything they have learned from their previous experiences (i.e. tools, skills, knowledge, etc.). What I shared with my friend is that the thing that inspires me about Mario is that even when you do make it to the next level the previous ones are always open for you to explore for missing pieces. So, as I re-tool for this week and look to what is ahead I am reminded that although I feel ill equipped at times I can look to what has been learned previously for guidance into what is ahead.