Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monopoly Pieces and Conversation (California Part 6)

I think the best part of my recent escape to California was simply the hours and hours of conversation.  It was seeing where Lisa lives and works, meeting her family and friends, and then hours and hours, through everything that we did, of sharing stories.  The stories we'd already shared by email and in blog posts took on new life now that they had a personality and voice attached to them.  And we talked and talked.

I'll be honest in saying that I was a bit apprehensive.  I'm not exactly known for taking risks, or handling new things very well, and, while two years of emailing had me convinced that I wasn't walking into some sketchy situation, I still wondered a little what it would be like to spend an entire week with someone I'd never met - how I'd handle that.  I was pretty sure I didn't need to worry too much, but I did still wonder.

I didn't need to worry.  I walked off the plane in San Diego and into a hug.  A hug that was repeated over and over through the week.  A hug that I'm definitely missing now that we're back in our separate CA's.

Because a huge part of my day to day reality is that the people with whom I share history - the people who are closest to my heart - all tend to live far away, time in person with someone like that is precious to me.  And, while Lisa and I admittedly didn't have in person history, two years of emails gave us a great base to work with.

And we talked for hours and hours.  In fact, one of the days that I smile the most at as the memory returns is the Sunday afternoon.  She had a giant bucket of the little metal monopoly markers (the dog, car, hat, etc.) that needed to be sorted for the Sunday School Talent store at her church.  After we got home from church that day, and ate lunch, we settled in to sort the thousands of pieces in the bucket.  A few of those tokens even made the trip home with me, and are sitting in a spot where I can see them easily, and be reminded of the fun, and serve as prayer reminders as well.  We passed a book (pictured below) back and forth that we'd been using as a jumping off point for conversations, each of us taking a turn picking a question that we'd both answer.  And we spent hours sorting monopoly tokens and sharing life and stories and laughter. 

And tears.  My life is admittedly raw right now, and tears have been frustratingly close to the surface for months.  Per usual, and initially to my embarrassment, they made themselves known rather frequently.  But there was such a blessing in sitting across from a friend whose eyes I could meet through the tears.  A friend who repeatedly gathered me into a hug when the tears flowed as I finished whatever story it was that had triggered them.  A friend who saw all the messy stuff and still saw me and welcomed me into her home and her life.  That was a gift of a value that I cannot even describe.  To simply be loved on, to be challenged to continue to seek healing, in a time where my heart was so longing to simply be seen and loved, to not be judged for being broken, but to be seen as valuable, and encouraged to continue to fight to heal.

I thought of that gift that Lisa gave to me when I read this quote from Richard Rohr last weekend after getting home:

I hope you’ve met at least one Kingdom person in your life. They are surrendered and trustful people. You sense that their life is okay at the core. They have given control to Another and are at peace, which paradoxically allows them to calmly be in control. A Kingdom person lives for what matters, for life in its deepest and lasting sense. There’s a kind of gentle absolutism about their life-style, an inner freedom. Kingdom people feel like grounded yet spacious people at the same time, the best of conservative and the best of progressive at the same time.

Kingdom people are anchored by their awareness of God’s love deep within them and deep within everyone else too. They happily live on a level playing field, where even God has come to “pitch his tent” (the literal translation of John 1:14).  (Richard Rohr)

I'm thankful for the gift of time with a friend who offered me a place to exist that felt "grounded yet spacious" for a week.  And that gift, as well as the promise that I will be welcomed again, the next time I need to escape, was truly a treasure that I'll hold onto in the coming weeks and months as I walk through some challenging new things.

I'll close with some pictures of our monopoly sorting adventure, and the book that fueled lots of great conversation throughout the week.

 see the size of the pieces in perspective against the bucket?

 part way through the sort
 see?  a whole coffee table full of monopoly pieces!
The book that fed our conversation.  Not all of the questions are ones I'd ever use, but the ones we did use were great conversation starters and I'm already pondering what sort of book of that nature I can pick up to spur further conversations the next time we're together in person!


Daughter of the King said...

I just wanted to confess that I am stealing the Richard Rohr quote...

Lisa said...

lol! go for it :)

Anonymous said...


Lisa said...

LP/CA - I almost bought a book today that I thought would have been so fun to do together if we had lived closer. It was called "Wreck This Journal" and had all these pages of really random activities etc. designed to stir creativity!