Lessons from Playing Monopoly – When the Game is Over

Monopoly

A few weeks ago, I spent an entire Sunday afternoon playing monopoly with my son and before he rolled the dice, I said, “Honey, remember  you are already valuable, it’s not what you have that determines your worth. Ok? ”

Well, I could have saved my breath because he was completely and irrationally obsessed with acquiring every property his bronze, horse token landed on. If he could buy the jailhouse, he would have. The thrill of acquisition dissipated when his cash reserves ran low and he needed to liquidate properties, houses and hotels to pay rent, bank levies or taxes. Sean, still without guile at thirteen, started bending the rules and kept eyeing the bank vault, trying to keep his game afloat. My strategy was simple – service versus greed. So I set my targets on utilities, railroads and a few choice properties .

In life, we are valuable because God loves us, even before we were born. Our performance or accumulation of things like badges of status will not endear us to Him. His love is sure and does not waver.

monopoly

A life that has meaning does not hold on to riches and its inherent lie that money defines us. There are no tight fists in the casket. People with the intentional posture of opens hands believe in generosity and are channels of God’s goodness and love. Anything you own turns around and possesses you right back. Imagine the aggravation from every dent in your brand new car or the shattered screen of your new iPhone, your obsession with your home security etc.  I agree with Al Watt from  LA Writer’s Lab, “…hold your (story) elements loosely.”

“You have to ask yourself: When you finally get the ultimate possession, when you’ve made the ultimate purchase,when you buy the ultimate home, when you have stored up financial security and climbed the ladder of success to the highest rung you can possibly climb it, and the thrill wears off–and it will wear off–then what?” — John Ortberg

A modified version of a story I heard at a church service goes like this  – A grandson (Pastor John Ortberg) finally beat his grandma at monopoly one weekend after summer vacation and she lauded him,

“I see you’ve finally learnt that this game is requires a 100% commitment to acquisition.”
“Took me a whole summer, but well worth it!” He said, gloating in victory.
“Now you are ready to learn a second lesson – everything goes back into the box.”

Life is a game that ends at some point and player after player – the truck driver asleep at the wheel, a business mogul in a plane crash, a young model with a life of glamor in her sights shot by a jealous boyfriend, a dictator beheaded by rebels (all pretty grim huh?), a grandfather passing away in his sleep… we all go by way of the box, so why stress over stuff?

As King Solomon wisely said, ” All this is vanity…I hated all my labor in which I toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? ” (Proverbs 2:18-19 para.)

That’s why we hold things loosely, and love fiercely. When our game is over, we will not leave this planet with a single penny or one solitary thread.
The Beloved Sean and I now recite this declaration by Bobby Schuller (The Shepherd’s Grove):

I’m not what I do
I’m not what I have
I’m not what people say about me
I’m the beloved of God

That’s who I am and no-one can take that from me…

Lord, lead us by love to our authentic selves.

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In Search for Passion and Meaning

Action Lady! Credit: Pixabay

Lady Action.  Images Credit: Pixabay

When did pelvic thrusts become the measure of excitement and passion? Emoji’s are facing stiff (puny, I know) competition from our need to express our approval with virtual grunts.

For most of us who work, our weekend schedule can reveal the road map to our passion – a football game, a writing workshop, a crafts hang-out, hanging out with the kids, volunteering at the food bank…you name it.  Spending our free time mindfully ignites a creative spark. If you do it once and feel the buzz, you’ll do it again.

I’m one of those with short bursts of artistic passion because come Monday, the mechanics and daily grind of life takes over, so I’m in awe of professional artists, creative geniuses and single parents. How do they do it? How do they sustain their imagination, excitement, energy and enthusiasm? Because they are eternally curious and never stop learning.

I want to be curious again, to look forward to something other than bills in my mailbox. I am working on being more consistent. Everyday, we have to give ourselves permission to be more spontaneous, follow the intuitions and hunches, break the habits that drag us away from our extraordinary core.

Image credit: Pixabay

The key is doing it daily, create new challenges and as Brené Brown advises, in her book Daring Greatly, quoting Theodore Roosevelt’s, Man in the Arena speech – “Don’t be the critic… be the one whose strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again…there is no effort without error and shortcoming (for) the one who spends himself in a worthy cause.”

We cultivate passion and meaning by scheduling time to be creative, showing up daily at the roll call. Success may result in fist pumps, pelvic thrusts or whatever rocks your halo, but even more important, is rising up after a failure, choosing to not retreat but live wholeheartedly.

I’ve done some passion-seeking work from the list below. You are welcome to share your ideas.

  • Take that course you’ve put off in art, music, writing, cooking, pottery, poetry, dancing etc. ( I’m taking one – Poetry in America : 1700-1850 )
  • Keep a journal – the wise number their days.
  • Ask your parents about an old photo, a family secret, the family history.
  • Introduce yourself to your community. Visit that trail, fishing camp, Japanese garden etc.
  • Run with an idea and ask for help.
  • Rediscover the wonder of your local library.
  • Sleep in with your kids on the weekend.
  • Apologize sincerely to someone you’ve hurt. ( I’m still working on this.)
  • Explore what your soul really needs.

There’s so much more, but here’s a good start in our search for passion and meaning. We are either dying slowly or living brilliantly. Chose life.