Mario Kart Monday

I am not a gamer.


I wish I were just being self-deprecating, but I’ve been telling my brother for years that I think there’s some brain connection that allows you to work a controller, and I was not born with it.

And ironically, the newest recurring event in my life is “Mario Kart Monday.”

I am awful at all games, but especially Mario Kart. I cannot turn my little bike character without hitting the walls, if there’s a way to fall off the track into the lava, I will, and I can’t even manage to hit the boxes that give you special power-up things (you can tell how informed I am about this game).

My goals for each week are a little different than most other people’s. The last time we played, I got really excited when I placed 11th two races in a row—as opposed to 12th and last, if that tells you anything.

Mario Kart Monday is just what it sounds like—every Monday night, the Mario Kart races begin, sometimes there’s food, and anyone is welcome. Trust me, if my friends let me hang around and monopolize last place every week, anyone is welcome.

For most people, this wouldn’t mean much, but I can’t help noticing. When a friend group hangout moves from a one-time thing to a regular occurrence, that’s when you know it’s real.

It’s the consistency of it that gets me, that at 7:30pm every Monday night friends will gather in the same apartment, there will probably be new faces there every week, and I will lose yet again.

I may joke about it being my weekly humbling session of sanctification, but it really is so much more than that to me.

I need routines—I love traditions and habits and memories. They root me in a place and become the bricks and boards and nails of a new home being built.

Friend group memories remind me of God’s kindness to me in the past, all the way back to my first year in an apartment when we had bacon and eggs and sometimes cinnamon rolls for Family Breakfast on Tuesdays before class.

I remember spaghetti bread and brownies and shag lessons and card games at Family Dinners later in college. I remember Esso lunches on Fridays, Thursday night supper clubs, and Sunday lunches at Nose Dive.

Despite all the memories, friend group routines give me a strange sense of anticipation. In a weird way, I wonder if heaven will feel like that—one big friend group hangout where every moment is one of those heart-full moments. The rich and perfect combination of worship and laughter and adventure and conversation. An eternity of Mario Kart Mondays with no gossip, no drama, and to my great joy, no losing.

I’m increasingly thankful that the Lord knows our weakness as humans, because He seems to understand our need for those routines. He seems to know that in this weird middle ground between what He has done and what He will do, we need rhythms of remembrance to keep us on track. We need to look back, and we need to look forward.

In fact, not long after one of His greatest displays of deliverance in history, the Israelite exodus from Egypt, God was already instituting traditions among His people.

They had just been miraculously rescued from 400 years of slavery—an event that would seem almost impossible to forget—and He wasted no time in setting up an organized, regular way for them to intentionally remember year after year.

Passover for the Israelites was an annual reminder that God loves. That He sees His people suffering and acts on their behalf. That He is just and merciful and powerful.

The lamb they ate every year pointed backwards to the lamb who died in place of their firstborn children and whose blood was a visible symbol of a family’s obedience and faith. The unleavened bread brought back memories and stories of the hurried escape—the legendary night when a whole nation of slaves just picked up and left. The bitter herbs reminded them of the pain and grief of bondage.

And as they remembered, whether they knew it or not, every year their ritual pointed them forward to the end of the story, to a climax that every generation hoped to see. To a Passover Lamb whose blood would be painted on the doors of people’s hearts and whose perfect sacrifice would be sufficient to rescue the whole world from the slavery of sin. To a Passover meal that would become a communion ceremony shared by believing Jews and Gentiles alike for millennia to come.

Passover was far more than just an annual meal. It was a middle ground moment that somehow communicated elements of eternity past and eternity future. It recalled the past and foreshadowed the future.

And the more I learn about that rhythm of remembrance and anticipation, the more I want to live like that all the time. I want my life to be a constant Passover, a daily ritual of both celebration and expectation.

I want to go through my work days and my slow nights and my football Saturdays with my eyes open, keenly aware of what the Lord has already done in my life and what He promises to do in the future. I want to approach every moment as a middle ground moment, a crossroads where I immediately remember His faithfulness and anticipate the glory ahead.

I think Mario Kart Monday is here to stay, and for that I’m grateful. It’s keeping me humble, and it’s making me look for more of those crossroads.

So as we go about our own routines and traditions, may we embrace a life of Passover.

Haley Barinowski

Haley is a shameless Clemson fanatic who believes in dessert, Christmas lights, and throwing football. She loves good books, good pens, and good runs. She attends our Downtown campus.