Monday, June 7, 2010

A Lesson from the Wii

NOTE - Sarah is back posting with us. 
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A while back I had dinner with some dear friends. After we ate they pulled out their Wii and put on a game called Rockband. If you’re not familiar with the game, it is basically a video game that consists of trying to sing and play particular songs that you are rated on. There is a microphone for the singer, a drum set, and a bass guitar. The parts scroll by on the screen as the song plays and you try to perform along with the background music.

When I first looked at the play list, I saw a few songs I knew well and thought, “I’ll try singing those.” It seemed logical to me to sing the songs I knew. I like to sing and I had a better chance of fairing well with the familiar tunes. With one friend on the drums and another on the bass we set out. I started out a bit timid and was focused on getting it right and sounding good. I quickly discovered I didn’t know the songs as well as I thought. I struggled to keep up with the pace, couldn’t hit the notes, and didn’t know half the lyrics. Needless to say, I didn’t do so well. And it wasn’t really any fun.

Throughout the night we switched parts. Though it took me a while to get the hang of it, I really enjoyed the drums. The guitar was fun too. As the night went on we began to push the “random” button instead of selecting the songs we knew. Whoever was sitting on the couch would just lean towards the microphone and shout out the words with very little concern for the notes or rhythms. It became a group effort.

As song after unfamiliar song played, I really got into it. The lyrics flew by on the screen and we mumbled through the words (making some up along the way) and we guessed at most of the pitches. Occasionally we’d do well and hit a correct note or catch on to an easy chorus. But for the most part we would bomb and “fail”, getting kicked off the game until one of our teammates saved us with a special move. We didn’t care. I laughed until I cried it was so much fun.

And then it hit me. If we think of life as a performance, as an “I have to get this right or else” endeavor, it is no fun. If we try and plot out all the notes and anticipate all the words so as to “sound good” or “be in control”, it looses its appeal. But if we can sit back, relax, and let the words and notes come as they may, we might just discover the joy of living in the moment. We’ll discover the joy of figuring things out as we go, of relying on our friends to help us, of being pleasantly surprised by our successes (instead of desperate to achieve them) and of being unashamed of our honest mistakes (instead of eager to hide our imperfections).

I’ve never been one to like surprises, and no one who knows me well would dare call me spontaneous. I’m a planner, a list maker, a deliberater, a map-reader, a double-checker. But I must confess, my laughed-until-I-cried Wii experience has taught me a valuable lesson. Life isn’t about getting it right. It is about heartily and enthusiastically singing along. I’m okay not knowing the next note. I’ll figure it out eventually. The words will come in their own time. God will clue me in when needed. And until then, I’ll laugh and enjoy this crazy (sometimes loud and off-key) song called life.


Jamie said...

This was a great read! What a wonderful lesson learned!

Chris said...