For me it is sport. It is the combination of intellectual challenge and physical endurance where you wear the other side down to the point where their heads explode. It is a combination of cracking moves and outright cheating that pushes the other side towards mental breakdown. I am, of course, talking about the playing of cards. That pointless pursuit embraced by people who need to get outdoors more often!
So, I want to be very clear. I told them when they asked me to be part of their mind-numbingly boring card game that I would cheat. I reinforced this when we turned up at their tent armed with bags of chips and red frogs. I drilled it home further when they carefully unwrapped the new deck of cards (Something about you must use a new deck when you begin…..whatever). But they ignored it, confident they could win me over. They didn’t!
And so the game began. They played cards, and I played ‘mess with them’. Hand after hand, points being carefully tallied. Inane rules enforced with great enthusiasm. Each pair carefully scrutinising the conduct of their opponents in the hope of getting the upper hand (Get it…..”upper HAND”).
And then it happened. I had been progressively blatant in my cheating. At first it was just subtle things like putting two cards out instead of one or tucking cards under the drink coaster when they were distracted. But eventually I was putting out four cards at a time, and that’s when Chernobyl blew up. I am talking nuclear fallout right there in the caravan park.
At first it was simple outrage at the fact that I had “wrecked the entire evening”. I couldn’t quite understand that because I was actually having quite a good time! But with each shade brighter the blood filled face of my opponent went, the more out of control they became. Apparently this was quite personal for them. I was still stuck in sports mode, and actually saw the tantrum unfolding in front of me as the sign of another successful sporting event. Gold medal stuff, really.
When they finally lost it completely and stormed out of the annexe, other people’s first thought was, “Brisby, you idiot”! My first thought was, “Where is he going? It’s his tent”!
Have you ever noticed some people just don’t think like you do? Maybe it is just me, but not everybody I know takes the same things seriously that I do! We are all built differently, with our own passions and interests, weaknesses and phobias. Just as well Jesus looks past all of that stuff and sees who we are at the core!
I may not be serious about cards but I am serious about growing kids and families in our school who love life, and love Jesus. Who deep in their bones know that there is a purpose for them on this earth, and that they are loved and a part of something bigger than just themselves. Life is not something you can ‘cheat’ at.
Getting the right balance between being obedient to God’s laws and having the freedom to live in His grace is where the sweet spot is. Oh, did I mention there is always a ‘price to be paid’ in life. Because we are innately short-term thinkers we often think we can avoid it, but life is costly sometimes. Doing the right thing often has a cost, but it is one worth paying!