I did NOT want to play Monopoly today. It just wasn’t on my list of things to do on Christmas Eve. I grew up playing games – from Apples to Apples and Operation in my very young years – to Scrabble, Yahtzee, Sorry, Spades and of course Monopoly later on. For whatever reason though, I’ve had no desire to engage in such leisure activities in several years. I’d rather watch from the sidelines, bouncing in and out between my own commotion, stirring the pot of competition between others without any commitment to the games myself.
As always, I awoke way before dawn this morning. Vacation or not, my body alarm knows when the clock’s hands are knocking on the 5 am door. Determined to embrace the comfort of our Sleep Number bed and take pleasure in the avoidance of morning rush hour traffic, I rolled over and dozed off again. In those quiet moments before dozing, I prayed. I thanked God for my family, my health, my friends, my career. I asked for forgiveness of sins and requested healing for family and friends who are battling diseases or facing other struggles. And I asked to be more like Jesus. To do what He wants me to do. To be the wife, the mother, the woman of God that He desires me to be.
Two hours later as I reopened my eyes to celebrate the Eve of my Savior’s birth, my husband walked into the room with a cup of hot coffee for me. As I sat there sipping on the fresh brew and contemplating my plans for the day, I wondered what the day would bring. It is rare that I have no to-do list, no pressing obligations, no immediate action items, so I anticipated little and hoped for much.
It wasn’t long before my beautiful, teenage daughter knocked on the door and found her way to my bedside. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed unusually early for a no-school day, I wondered why she was up. “Oh, I just couldn’t sleep. I’ve been waking up at 5:30 every morning,” she said as I inquired about her early rising. “Welcome to my world,” I responded. It was then that she announced that she was there to ask me to play Monopoly. Just moments before when she was heating leftover sausage-cream cheese-crescent yumminess, Brad had a crazy idea that he would play her in the real estate trading game and then she had a crazier idea that I would join them.
No, no and no. I don’t play games. I don’t like to play games. I do not want to play Monopoly. Or any other game for that matter. I have things to do. And I just don’t want to play. After several attempts at making poor excuses and a wise, loving husband who pointed out that I had absolutely nothing that HAD to get done today, my stubbornness would still not let me agree. I never said “no” but I never said “yes” either.
Moments later after Brad and Hannah had both moved on to other things in other rooms and I was left to get back to whatever it was I thought I wanted to do, the Holy Spirit ever so gently said, “I want you to play Monopoly with your daughter and your husband. I want you to enjoy THEM. I want you to give them the time and attention they deserve and want from you. Don’t let this time slip away from you….”
And there you have it. As He always does, our Heavenly Father answered my prayer. I was so close to missing a chance to listen to Him. To ignoring an opportunity to walk in obedience. To dismissing time and attention with my loved ones. Time keeps on slippin’ – and it ain’t takin’ its time doin’ so. I finished my coffee, walked up the hallway, smiled and announced, “I get to be the hat!”
I lost the game – mortgaged all (little as it was) of my property and went bankrupt. First one out. Pretty sure I won so much more! Now THAT’S the game of life!