The year was 1991 or maybe it was 1989. No pretty sure it was 1990. Yeah that’s it 1990, no wait on second thought it was 1988. Well suffice it to say it was somewhere between 1987 and 1997 and it was Christmas Eve. My brother, sister and I sat amongst a mountain of discarded wrapping paper. I was busy playing with a new set of Legos, my brother’s attention was focused on handheld basketball game and my sister busied herself with the feeding her new doll.
My parents sat sipping cups of coffee on the couch and my grandfather, his body showing the effects of the cancer that raged inside him, sat in his favorite easy chair. My grandmother walked around the room cleaning up bits of the discarded wrapping paper.
My grandfather’s voice, reduced by cancer to but a whisper, filled his corner of the room. “Isn’t there one more gift?” he asked. My brother, sister and I stopped what we were doing. The prospect of a new gift much more interesting than our new toys.
My grandmother put the last piece of wrapping paper into the black trash bag and said. “You know you might be right Tom.”
“I think it’s in the bedroom.” My grandfather whispered.
My grandmother disappeared into the bedroom to see if the there in fact was one more gift tucked away in there. My brother sister and I sat with baited breath, listening to the seconds tick loudly by on the clock hanging above the couch.
An eternity past before my grandmother emerged with one more box carefully wrapped in foil paper. “You were right Tom, one more gift in there.” She put the present in front us to open.
My brother, sister and I tore into that like a pack of hungry wolves. Bits of shredded paper once again filled the living room and in a flash the last gift was unwrapped. It was a Nintendo, an honest to goodness 8bit nintendo with Super Mario Bros and Duck hunt.
My brother and I upon recognizing what this actually was started jumping up and down and screaming like little girls. My sister, not wanted to be left out joined in although I suspect she was more interested in her doll than the pinnacle of home gaming systems.
Five minutes past and my brother and I were still running around screaming how awesome this was. That it was the best gift ever. My grandfather and grandmother sat with smiles as large as my brothers and I’s upon their face.
I became a Nintendo wizard after that. Playing so much and so often that I would get black and blue marks on my thumbs from pushing the controller’s A and B buttons. I got really good at many games. I could save the princess in Super Mario Bros blindfolded, Paperboy was no match for my Nintendo skills, and Duck Hunt mere child’s play for me.
Even though I progressed in my Nintendo skills, somedays I just didn’t have it. Days were the goombas were too much for Mario and the tornado in Paperboy always grabbed me. I would continue to play, growing increasing frustrated with each lost life and each missed jump. Finally, I would come to my senses and push the reset button. The game’s title screen would appear and I’d start the game fresh.
In my own life I’ve often wished for a reset button like the one found on the old Nintendo’s. A button capable of making all my mistakes go away, a button capable of allowing me to start fresh with a new set of lives. I’ve searched all over for life’s reset button. I’ve checked under rocks, in back alleys, and behind closed doors all to no avail.
Just as I was about to give up hope that a reset button existed, I found it. It was found in the last place I looked and I found it’s not a button at all but rather a sacrament. The sacrament of reconciliation allows for one to reset their life. To have all the mistakes made in the past forgiven. The sacrament allows for the fresh start we desire in our lives.
Reconciliation, like the Nintendo’s reset button, allows us to once again regain our life and strive to do good in the world as we set out to save the princess.