Saturday, May 7, 2016

Playing by Memory

Monopoly at the dining room table was, for several years while the kids still lived at home, an almost weekly event. Various teens and twenty-somethings would gather around, soda and popcorn at hand, and battle for hours over the right to rule Monopoly world. We even had a small trophy awarded to the winner each week.

Truth is, and I know it's cliche, but I know the Monopoly board like the back of  my hand. My brother and I found an old set of my dad's in our grandmother's attic, and with no rule book to follow, we taught ourselves the game. We whiled away many summer days, while Mom was working, in the basement loaning each other money so the game would last until Labor Day. I know just where Luxury Tax is on the board and that the green spaces--North Carolina, Pacific, and Pennsylvania--are the most expensive to develop and seldom result in a winner, while the railroads--B&O, Shortline, Pennsylvania, and Reading--can provide a lot of income.

We hadn't played Monopoly in a while. All but one of the kids had moved on with their own lives, but last Saturday Allen dusted off the board and set it up hopefully in the kitchen. We actually own six versions of Monopoly--my favorite being Star Wars--but this one was the America-opoly. This version had no dog as a token, so I took the hat and began my quest around the board.

And found that, even though I knew the game and the board, I couldn't read a thing. The dots on the dice blended into one blob of something, and while the spaces were familiar, I couldn't read the price or the names. It was a bit disconcerting to realize that my continuing battle with keratoconus had cost me the ability to see the board.

Image result for monopoly board
But it had not erased my memory. Memory is a powerful thing. 2 Corinthians 2:9 tells us that God's "grace is sufficient, my power made more perfect in weakness." My eyes are weak--tender, even--but that does not mean that God has finished with me. The Apostle Paul, author of this Book, wrote that he, too, had a thorn in the flesh that kept him from becoming boastful. While it is not known just what this infirmity was, many scholars feel that it may have been a visual ailment, a notion borne out by Paul's use of scribes to write his work.

I may no longer see the Monopoly board as clearly as I once did, but I remember the hours of enjoyment playing the game. I know the game well enough that I can still play, with or without full sight. Like Paul, I have often of late mistaken what I have seen. While I have never called a high priest a "white-washed wall' (Acts 23-3-5), I have mistaken a dried leaf brought in by the dog as a mouse and just last week thought a mailbox was a man waiting for the bus. When you think about it, it can be downright funny.

It would be easy, I guess, to become bitter. As a teacher and a writer, I depend upon my vision. But I every day, I try not to let a bitter root grow (Hebrews 12:15). I know God has his plans.

As long as I can remember, I will continue to play the game.

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