Day Sixteen: Feast of St. Andrew

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Let us gaze upon these stars and marvel at their brilliance! When Andrew, whom we commemorate today, found the Lord of all, he cried to his brother Peter,  “We have found the Messiah!”

-St. John Chrysostom

The icon shows him later in life, white hair and long beard but he was young and working as a fisherman with his brother, Peter, when they met Christ on the shores of Galilee. It is Andrew’s enthusiasm that strikes me here, his proclamation, his energy on those shores.

On days when they don’t have school, my boys get up early and find their way to the computer. They don’t get a lot screen time on school days so when they have free time they head straight for the computer. We’re “Mac” people over here but my oldest convinced us to invest in a PC when it came time to add a laptop to the clan. I was tired of sharing mine with the boys who would download “mods” (software modifications) for an online game called Minecraft every single day. Over time the “mods” would cause my laptop to lag, would make the desktop unstable and generally would make me annoyed every time I needed my computer. Apparently, according to my oldest, a PC is best for “gaming” so when it was time to replace an aging desktop, we opted for that PC.

Gaming might be one of the few things the three of them agree on these days. Their interests outside of Minecraft are varied. Their personalities are wildly different. Minecraft seems to be the great equalizer around here. They are excited about it, they gather around it and talk excitedly about it day after day. And they fight about it too, what to build, where to build it, how to handle the structures when they’re finished.

Miles is the youngest and gets his way only when he muscles it through. Generally it’s the older boys who are the final word on how things will go but it’s Miles who seems to “find” things. It was Miles who first discovered a new game, like Minecraft but better in his estimation. He discovered “Cubeworld” before anyone. He found it, I guess, by a series of links from Minecraft to a mod of Minecraft to a comment about that mod, to a game based on that mod, to another game based on that game until finally he got to a website. He was excited, he showed it to me and begged for it. He did chores to save for it, always talking about it, showing his brothers, drumming up support. He waited for 6 months until the game was finally available. Six months to a 9-year-old boy waiting for a video game is like an eternity, but he waited. Yesterday he discovered he would be able to purchase it. It might have well have been Christmas, New Years and his birthday all at the same time. I shelled out the $18.00 for the download from the money he’d stored up from patience and hard work and installed the PC only game onto the boys’ laptop.

As he showed the inner workings to his brothers, he was proud of it. He knew it. He was right about this. The younger brother discovered something and the older brothers were there finally, joining in, embracing and engaging, excited for what the future of this might hold. And I thought, as I listened to them talk about it, explore it and even argue over it, that maybe this was a formative thing for Miles, one step into himself, growing. He’ll always be the younger brother and maybe at the mercy of the older ones in some respects but this was a good moment, a good discovery, a defining step in the voice he’s finding.

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