Last year a young person borrowed my phone and when she returned it, I noticed I had a new app.
It was called Temple Run. This game came to mind because recently its sequel came out, and it has the same premise. You take a precious artifact, Indiana Jones style, and a giant apelike creature chases you through all sorts of traps from fire to holes. If you trip, you're caught, and you must try again, and again ... and again. I found it addicting, and as I played, I pondered the premise a bit.
In the game, I am holding something that is precious. I cradle it to protect it and I have to exert all my mental and physical attributes to bring it into society for anthropology, for admiration, for the arts or for the common good.
It seems to fit into the old Protestant ethos: "If I work hard enough, good things will happen."
With 6 million downloads in the first 24 hours of this game's release, it seems to have struck something within us. Perhaps it is a need to have a purpose, to have an adventure, to do something good.
Do you remember in social studies class, when the class talked about the great voyages that circumnavigated the globe and the people who had to contemplate the cost of these voyages? The risk takers often had to convince the wealthy that the risks of adventure would pay off the debts the adventure would incur. Lives may be lost, great ships may be sunk, and fortunes lost.
To grow, eventually one has to take a leap of faith that goes beyond reason -- because there are always reasons for and against all good things. Imagine if we had not made it to the moon, or if no one were willing to try out the first vaccinations.
So what risks are we supposed to take now? How cautious must we be as we look around the corner of the future? How big are we going to dream? How hard are we going to work to achieve these goals?
I want to see a cure for AIDS and the odd possibility of space colonies. I'd also like to see more understanding and nurturing for special needs people, as well as more cooperation among the peoples of various nations. I'd like to see children born into a world that wants them, and that gives all of them a chance for success and the support they need to achieve their own dreams. What are you reaching for?
True happiness and contentment does not come from more leisure and new games and gadgets. Even the pursuit of knowledge and all the work we do to earn a living -- while these are good things -- they ultimately do not fill us with hope.
Only by experiencing something bigger than ourselves, and accomplishing something that we once thought was impossible, are we going to shout with the joy we desire. I like to step outside of myself and seek the perspective of someone greater to guide me. I pray for a future that does not stagnate in what could have been, what isn't or what can't happen. I struggle but remember the words of the Apostle Paul, when he said: "I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the one who makes me who I am."
Sometimes we get tired. It is good to rest for a while, but eventually we have to get up and do new things. With the confidence of knowing we are put in motion by the one who created each of us with purpose; start something new or continue to work toward the possible impossibility that good things still happen because we were made to make them so.
Columnist Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Follow him at twitter.com/dannonhill. Read his blog at www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com.