I grew up a Nintendo kid.
When the first Nintendo console began sweeping across the U.S., I was at the ideal age to be hooked to the adventures of Mario, Link, and all the other characters of the Nintendo world. I remember the dangers of tripping over the cords that connected the controllers to the console, the effect that playing TECMO Bowl had on your eyes at 2 a.m., and the depression I would enter after losing in the first round to Mike Tyson…
But nothing was more dangerous than one simple button:
The RESET Button.
It always happened at the worst times…
You got too excited when you fell into the fire on Bowser’s castle on Level 8 and pulled the controller too far and the Nintendo slid off the cabinet while you still had three lives left and the button pushed in when it hit the ground…
Your cousin walked by in front of you and his foot accidentally kicked the button before you had saved your game…
Your sister came in while you had the game paused (so you could go to the bathroom) and she pressed the button…
It was terrible placement by the manufacturers.
The RESET button did, however, have its benefits.
How many times did I hit the RESET button to start an RBI Baseball game over when I had given up a run in the top of the 1st inning?
How many times did I hit the RESET button when I missed a duck fly to the top of the screen and that stupid dog came up and laughed at me?
(Actually, I think if you look back at my old Nintendo, the word “RESET” is faded out. I think I pressed it quite a bit.)
I mentioned back a few months ago that I had asked Anna-Marie to marry me a second time. I mentioned that my first proposal was pretty sad… more like lame.
When I asked her the second time, I did better.
It still wasn’t the ideal YouTube proposal that people watch over and over and think the people in the video are so lucky and perfect.
It wasn’t filled with the exciting feelings that you get when you are embarking on a new adventure with your boyfriend/girlfriend and taking a huge step towards adulthood.
It was 14.5 years later.
It was 14.5 years into a marriage.
It was done after coming out of and through the hard, the difficult, and the messy stuff that can build up after years of a relationship.
I hit the RESET button.
Interrupting to note that his first proposal wasn’t bad.
He’s (always) too hard on himself.
But the second proposal? So Good.
It started with a surprise trip to NYC.
It was a rough fall.
(And that is the biggest understatement I have ever written in my life.)
Things were looking really Good and Brian asks if I want to go to NYC:
Me: We don’t have the money.
Brian: We have free flights from our rewards program. We haven’t used any miles since 2014, so we have a lot of points built up. I can get us round trip flights to NYC for free.
Me: Whaaat?! What about childcare?
Brian: I’ve already asked your parents. They are totally game.
Me: For both boys?
Brian: For Tobin. Knox is going with us. I’d love for Tobin to go, but he won’t do well on the plane. Whattya say?
Me: We don’t have the money.
Brian: I have it figured out. I just need to know if you want to go. Please? This is important.
In 2014, for the first time in my life, my life had become hard. Saying that I didn’t handle the hard very well would also be an enormous understatement.
I don’t know if everyone gets there at some point in their life or not, but I did.
If my life was a Nintendo game…
It wasn’t going well.
I didn’t want it to end like this.
I wished my cousin would accidentally kick the button.
I hoped I could pull the cord too hard and the Nintendo would fall.
I wanted to just start over.
I needed to hit the RESET button.
This whole idea of “resetting” appears to be built into the universe in all kinds of ways.
The sun comes up and goes down… resetting the day.
The seasons come and go… each seeming to reset the other.
A baby is born and another life comes to an end… a generation is reset.
You close your eyes at night and awake to a new morning… resetting your body.
You reconnect with an old friend… your stories seem to reset the relationship.
I don’t know why God gives us these chances to begin again… to reset…
but he does…
and I’m glad he does…
And when he does…
The Good that results is so much more beautiful because of the hard.
This week, Anna-Marie and I will celebrate 15 years of being married… and for the first time, I truly feel that the best is yet to come.