And then I remembered this little gem that actually takes place around a game of Phase 10, a delightful card game that lasts hours and hours, and I can thank Julie Haynes in Troy for introducing me too... and I myself am responsible for it sweeping through parts of Virginia, lower Alabama and much of other parts of the country...
It should be noted that this ever so slightly lifts a concept from Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald, but his game of choice was basketball... everything else has been changed.
From March 19th, 2001...
Phase 10 with God
The following story is not true. But it could be.
Finally, about 8:30, He comes in. He doesn't knock, but then, who really does?
“About time, Abba,” Sarah says, getting the cards off the coffee table and heading for the dining room.
“Sorry,” God replied. “I was attending to the prayers of the sick in New Delhi. That and they are doing construction on 65 again… quite annoying.” (fyi--just as a quick aside, when I re-read this, the first thing I thought of, now that its 2011, was "some stuff never changes")
We all sat down at the table, and I begin to deal. Now, its not widely known, but God is practically unstoppable at cards. Its easier when you know what’s coming, I guess. Justin gets his cards and grunts about how crappy his hand is, while Jennifer seems happier with hers. The Lovely Steph Leann comes out of the kitchen with her glass of water, picking up her cards as she sits.
God seemed happy with His hand. Yeah, the hand of God seemed pretty strong, I think. So, as we are playing, I ask God what He thinks about this Indian guy that is in the newspaper. God, while laying down His phase immediately, replies He hadn’t seen the paper today. Before New Delhi, it seems He was healing a cancer in Omaha. Busy man, He is.
I reach to the counter and hand Him today’s paper, showing Him the story. It seems this fellow named T. John, an official in the Indian province of Karnataka, was forced to resign his position over remarks he made in a speech to some students. Apparently he told them the recent earthquake was an act of revenge by God for attacks by Hindus on the country’s Christian minorities. The quake claimed about 12,000 lives.
“Wow, God,” Stephanie asked, laying down her first phase. “Is this true?”
God sighed, drawing the 7 card Steph just laid down. “Does T. John know anything about these 12,000 people, you think?” He put the 7 on his cards in front of Him, an 8 on Stephanie’s cards and went out. “Do you guys know? Can you tell me which ones persecuted Christians and which ones were Christians themselves? Or Muslims or Jews? Can you describe the ones who stole from the poor or mistreated children? Or can you describe the ones who gave bread to the hungry or read to the blind?”
“Of course not, God,” Jennifer replied, shuffling the cards. She turned to me, “Oh, I had 60 points.”
God replied, “I wouldn't expect you to, Jennifer. But I can. Those people didn't die for revenge.”
“They why…” I caught myself, remembering how hacked off he got with Job pestering Him with questions.
God just smiled. It was kind of neat, because when he did, a slight spring breeze came through the open window.
“I know, d$. You want a world without pain. A world without suffering and loss.”
“That would seem like a good idea, Father,” Justin replied.
“Tis true, Justin. A nice world that would be, but that would also be a world without healing, without joy and redemption. Each one gives meaning to the other.”
Jennifer began to deal the cards, as I announced that God and Stephanie were on phase 2, Justin, Jennifer, Sarah and I were on phase 1.
“So, teaching lessons isn't why you allow chaos and calamity to happen?” I asked.
“Now, I didn't say that, d$,” God picked up his cards. “I mean, I thought Chicago needed a shot of humility, so I gave them the Cubs.” He laid down His phase, three cards with the number 4 on them, and cards 7 through 11. “Adam Sandler movies are my way of saying ‘Support your local library’. I’m not above sending messages.”
“Well, if that’s the case,” Justin asked, picking up the 2 God discarded, “then why does this guy bother you so much?”
“See, its simple,” He said. “People like him irk Me because they are always quoting Me when I haven’t said anything to them. Always asserting their own petty motives to My name. They are forever putting My name on some moronic thing that has nothing to do with Me.”
The Lovely Steph Leann discarded a 3. God drew from the pile, placed a 9 on the phase Justin had laid down, and then went out. It's like He knew.
He continued, “It’s not just him, though. It’s the people who declare war claiming I told them to do it. Its that TV preacher who says send him money or I’ll kill him. It’s the crowd that says I sent AIDS as a judgement upon some of my children. It’s the ones who hate in My name.
“And the worst thing about it, is that the things I DO say, no one seems to pay attention. I tell you to take care of one another. I tell you to honor your parents. I tell you to stop stealing, killing and coveting. I tell you I love you.”
“But you said those things a long time ago. Maybe you need to say them again,” Sarah replied, dealing the cards.
“I say them everyday,” God smiled back. “I remind you every day. In sunrises and silences, in breezes and in smiles, , in your encouragement mails, d$, and in Justin’s praise and worship, in love and even in tears.
“What about Marilyn Manson?” The Lovely Steph Leann smiled. “Should you just get rid of him?”
“You’d be surprised, Steph,” God said as he picked up a card. “Just between us, I've got some plans for him. Don’t be surprised to see him in Heaven. Trust me.” He winked at The Lovely Steph Leann, who blushed.
“You know what the problem is?” He laid down phase three, then went out. “You people make so much noise, you hardly ever hear Me. You talk so much I can’t get a word in edgewise. You need to listen.”
I wrote down my 75 points. “What, God?”
“My point exactly,” He smiled back.
God won that night. He had five points, but that’s because Justin skipped Him and went out. Justin had a stomachache later that night.
The Summer of Blogging Day Fifteen