Even though it has taken a couple days, my pride has mended. :) I see myself much more as a "conditional" dreamer (if "this" were different the outcome could be "this") than I do as a sore loser, but of course I am a biased participant. Seriously, I can't remember the last board game I played that I still held vivid memories of, this many days afterward. Why? Was it that I blindly walked into a "cutthroat" tradition, where some serious bragging rights were being defended, or that, certain competitive juices can only be bottled up for so long, or maybe it was, the "few" rule changes that occurred through the completion of just one game? I'm not sure which of those choices was more prevalent, but I will say I totally enjoyed myself! Bragging rights, competition, a game in which the rules can and will be changed, that's my cup of tea! Just by your gracious allowance of my active participation (albeit it, in my own egocentric way) I have now come to know a little more about cohort tradition, bragging rights, and this "process of becoming" a cohort pictionarian, (still a little skeptical on the rules part though). :)
I am extremely grateful to be part of a group who allows this "process of becoming" to those willing to actively participate. These ideas of "process", "becoming" and "participation" have been reoccurring ideas in my life recently. It seems like any book I pick up or any podcast I listen to has been shot through this lens of "process". I cant adequately define it, especially in theological terms, but let me say this, process is what we live in and through everyday. Our processes are what make us. Each of us has a story (the process) of our past from somewhere and understand we have a story (process) of future that will take us somewhere. What is it about our stories (processes) that brought us together; around a colorful square of cardboard, a few markers, a drawing board to communicate on, in a remote room, in a small town, on a given night?
I recently read a story of a Rabbi who was traveling that came upon a fork in the road. After careful directional consideration he decided which path he would take. At the end of this chosen path he came upon the castle of the ruling Queen in that particular territory. As he walked up to the gate, an armed centurion called out, "Who are you and why are you here?" The Rabbi pondered the question and answered back, "How much are you paid to ask that?" The centurion reply, " The Queen graciously gives me 10 denari a week for my services." The Rabbi chuckled and responded, "I'll give you 20 if you follow me around and ask me that same question everyday."
I think that in this season of advent (which means; coming, or arriving), it is most important to keep the centurion's question in the forefront of our minds. But not just that question, let's also keep the Rabbi's response close to it. Notice the Rabbi is asking for "everyday" participation. It's a great question, from the centurion, but it means nothing if its left behind and forgot about. The everyday question has to follow us through our processes. As active participants, we often crash into "cutthroat" traditions with competitive juices that are determined to change the rules, in order to distract us from our freedom to participate. This everyday question frees us from those distractions.
So, in that room, on that given night, was it just a game? Was it just another gathering in order to distract us from our chaotic lives of our individual dramas in pain, disagreement, separation, division, divorce, sickness, or the (dis)ease of our past? (At least in my case). I think not!
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people."....... Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with an angel, praising God and saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward mankind"
When God enters our world, angelic host proclaim it. When God participates he can't help but to leave behind peace. That's just what happens. Underneath (my) tradition, underneath (my) ego, underneath the (dis)ease of (my) past there IS peace. The season requires us to remember that arrival and to anticipate what it truly means to be. When God comes, peace will surely follow, but participation (being) is required.
By focusing on advent, my hope is to notice, a little more intently this year, how important active participation is. Even though it can be uncomfortable at times, even though the rules aren't always agreed upon, even if I don't get my way. The idea that God (through humanity in Jesus) would participate in this same journey of competitive traditions ---hellbent on distracting him--- in order to usher in peace for all--- this is something I can only grasp through a "participation process." The same way Jesus did.
I have only been apart of this group for a few months. When I started peace was something I didnt think much about, because I was to wrapped up in that (dis)ease of my past. It's only been through your friendships that the centurion's question was brought back in my mind. It's only been through your gifts of patience and acceptance that I've noticed the importance of the repetition of that question. These are great gifts to realize! Thank you all! Merry Christmas!
--Boys rule, Girls drool!----there's always next year pictionarians! (pretty obvious I live with a 1st grader)