(a predictable title coming from someone who barely scrapes 4″11)
I probably spent about three quarters of my childhood playing Sims. I’m from a pretty slow-paced village and about as outdoorsy as Beowulf’s Grendel. By the time I got to Sims 3- dedication, I know- there was a ‘memory bank’ feature for your sims, so that you could reminisce about all the fun times you and Bella Goth had shared that afternoon. It was also sort of evaluative- green icons for good memories- marriage, babies, promotion- and red icons for bad- catching your man in the arms of another woman, being sick, burning the toast. I reeeaally wanted at least one sim to have a perfectly green life. But not only did I make it impossible by making them all serial adulterers or having them attacked by vampires (a 4 hour sitting is a long-term commitment for anybody), there was absolutely no way to stop them burning their grilled cheese sandwiches. Let-downs the lot of ’em.
‘Red’ memories do happen. And most of the time they’re a lot more painful than just a culinary mishap. But sometimes, I think. God gives us the opportunity to change what we see as red to green, to see good grow from bad, blessing from hurt. Not always, unfortunately. But, in my experience (albeit, a very fortunate one, so I probably would say the following), enough to give me hope to withhold judgement when something hits me as red.
A while back, I was hurting- nothing major, but I could feel myself hermit-crabbing (shoulders up to my neck, hunched over, as if to say to God ‘you’re not coming in here; I’ll handle it myself, you’ll only make me feel titchier’). My phone buzzed. It was just an asking how I was, two kisses, and nothing else. She probably had no idea that her timing was perfect, or that her simple words could touch me so much. But she is one of those friends that when you’re with her, you know whose presence you’re really in. She just beams love, and joy, and patience. A few minutes with her and I already feel snug. And in that moment, nothing stopped hurting straightaway, but it felt like God was prising away my shoulders from so close to my chin and telling me He was still there, that He wanted to be let in.
Psalm 139: 9-12″If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.”
“At least you can feel these things”, another friend reminded me the other day. And he’s right. I can remember numbly plodding through day after day, seeing everything in greyscale, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Because if it wasn’t for that time of hurt, I wouldn’t have been able to see my friend reflect God’s love for me. I’d have gone on about my business enjoying my ostensible ‘self-sufficiency’. Instead, I felt precious.
So I’d just encourage you to never underestimate the power of the mundane. It might feel like nothing to you, it might make you feel pretty foolish, but it might just have heart-melting potential. Tesco reminds us that every little helps. How much more so if God attaches his own voice to the timid hand you hold out.