I Take It All Back

Last week, I pioneered the linking technique.  This week, I’ve graduated to striking through comments…just so y’all are aware of my abilities…Apparently, I wouldn’t make a great gambler.  I commented on my Facebook (yes, that terrible device that is actually quite useful when wanting to communicate with people that you know but not well enough to spend hours writing a long email…or when they live abroad and you don’t have a way to phone them…or when you’re bent on stalking someone…) that “Liz is considering making a living playing poker.”

Well, it convinced my friend R to step out of the woodwork and comment.  He is very well acquainted, better than most, with my bad luck.  He said he’d write a long email with his argument but actually he wrote quite a short one.  It said “Turn to pages XX-XX of your journal from XX week and my case will make itself.”  I think he cheated.  And has a darn good memory.  But because the following points were that funny…that true…that worthy of being blogged…made a good case and I’m feeling lazy and in the mood to “borrow material” here is a glimpse into the inner writings of my journal (actually, more the outer writings of my journal…the ones I have obviously shared openly before…)

“Some people just weren’t meant to be friends.  It’s hard to admit that, especially in the Christian world, where we’re supposed to embrace everyone as long-lost twins and gather in a circle wearing our Birkenstocks and singing Kumbaya…err, gather in a Holy Huddle carrying our Palm Pilots and singing Bambalela.  This past week at Chichester has been amazing – to see a church plant grow to 100 strong, to serve alongside my fellow Impacters instead of only meeting up for theological training, to spend hours in the hot sweaty sun putting flyers through 40,000 doors while praying that no dog will feast on my fingers the gospel will go forth. And yet, I must have the worst luck in the world. Or, at least Chichester, at this precise moment in time.  Things started poorly with introductions to our host families.  I’m staying with a woman whose husband left her for a young American girl.  She dropped this bomb on me during the walk home.  Apparently she harbors all kinds of resentment and bitterness towards Americans, in particular, young girls.  She said she’d host some kids as long as they weren’t American…naturally, here I am.  I do believe that this was meant to be and that I can be a positive influence but still, why me?  Mareike is staying with me…Tanya came home with us to chill…it turns out her husband also had  affairs with German girls, French girls and Russians…so we’re all covered.  Still, it’s the American that he lives with now.  Apparently her teenage son who now lives in special housing for the emotionally unstable is coming to meet me tomorrow.  (He wasn’t emotionally unstable until his Dad left with the American…just so y’all can imagine what an awkward meeting that was.)  God, I’m really gonna need your grace for this one…But back to the first statement.  M and I got on well during the first few months of training.  All those competitive Uno games led to something resembling friendship.  But since then, nothing that any of us can do makes him happy, he won’t come out of his shell, and he enjoys making a mockery of others.  His attitude tears down any bridges we try to make.  I told Ben on the train ride here that it would be an awesome time as long as neither of us got stuck on his team.  Wrong thing to say, I guess.

…My bad luck is nothing if not consistent.  Over the past few days we’ve been assigned to random teams made up of Impacters and Chichester church planters in order to leaflet the houses, hand out balloons in the town center, etc.  M and I have been placed on the same team every time.  Not just the same team: we were assigned to be the 2 tattoo artists for 3 hours one afternoon. 

We were even assigned to dish out curry during the Trivia Night.  We played our own version with D as the trivia master and I won.  Good luck, right?  I guess.  We were vying for D’s friendship so I guess that belongs to me nowBut later that evening when I was helping clean up and keep an eye on the small children, M got so upset about the stupid trivia game that I ended up with curry down my back and pen markings up and down my arms.  Very childish.  I was actually relieved to return to the house and meet the boy emotionally-scarred-by-a-young-American!  People like that I just can’t be friends with.  Or, I don’t want to be friends with.  God, I really need your grace in situations like that.  I need your wisdom.  And, please, put M on a different team to Ukraine.”

We were on the same team to Ukraine.  We taught English together.  For hours, every day.  It was a challenge and not one that I accepted gracefully (sorry, Helen, for all the venting).  And yet, in the scheme of things, it was a few weeks in a very good life…orchestrated by a sovereign God…I got to see a kid wearing a t-shirt that had CIA emblazoned on the front and MAFIA on the back (that alone made my trip worthwhile)…and the only thing that has remained from that trip is that I pray for M whenever I flip through the photos.  I hope he prays for me.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he’d made a similar prayer to God last June requesting to not be on my team to Ukraine.  God seems to like doing things like that. 

But yes, R, you were right.  Apparently I’ve used up all my luck in the thousands of Monopoly and Wheel of Fortune games I’ve won.  There’s none left to turn me into a world champion poker player.

Good thing life isn’t determined by luck.  

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