“So, what’s new in the virtual world?” my husband asks on Saturday evening, kissing me hello.
“Nothing much. What’s new in the real world?”
Dinner has been ready but I have been keeping the meatballs warm in the oven for the past half hour. I take them out and mumble an apology.
“They look like igneous rocks,” he comments.
“You’ll just have to use my sauce then,” I say, “It’s been simmering for the past three hours.” To prove that, the house is filled with the glorious smell of olive oil, garlic, onions, tomato, and basil, with just a touch of White Zinfandel.
The kids come to the table and answer his original question with an explanation of all the new developments in Farmville. My children have never spent much time on the computer, but since they were introduced to online games and it has been raining quite a bit lately, this online game has become a household obsession.
After dinner, I tell them that I want them to stay off the computer on Sunday because it is going to be a nice day.
“But Mom, I just planted $15,000 worth of watermelon seeds! If I don’t harvest them when they ripen, they will wither and die.”
“Don’t worry about your virtual plants, honey. I’ll check on them from my computer and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“No Farmville for you, either,” my husband teases me.
On Sunday morning we were treated to a reading about the end times. The deacon tells us that this really is about the present times. We are always to be ready, for no man knows the hour at which Christ will come. I think to myself: Would I want to be caught playing Farmville when Jesus returns?
On the way home, I am chastising them for their treatment of each other. During the Lord‘s Prayer my two middle children had been squirming around and not letting the other hold hands. “If Jesus came back right now, would you want Him to catch you mistreating each other?
I am still working my way through The Catechism of the Catholic Church, from front to back, one section at a time. After lunch I pick it up and read:
“Every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience…Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away form death? If you aren’t fit to face death today, it’s very unlikely you will be tomorrow…”
[quoted in section 1014 in The Catechism; from The Imitation of Christ, 1, 23, 1]
I thought again of the Horses of Death in the recent version of A Christmas Carol. My ten-year-old had wanted to know what they represented. I had explained then that we should have no fear of death if we are in a State of Grace. Scrooge was afraid because he was not.
We went out to set up a new pitching net and spent the afternoon raking leaves and working on softball skills. It was time well spent. Dinner was a hodgepodge of leftovers from the previous three nights. Then we turned on our computers to check on our farms.
Painting by William Blake: “Death on a Pale Horse”