Sunday, February 6, 2011

Killer Bunnies

Several years ago, my husband and I learned a game called Settlers of Catan. We were running with a group of friends who were, I'll say it, totally obsessed with this game and so we learned it quickly and played it often, even descending to new realms of nerdiness and taking part in a tournament.   I'm not gonna lie, it was a total blast. 

Now, my husband and I both really like to win games, not just play them. We're both competitive.  So, with the increase in game playing came the increase in potential for conflict. And, you guessed it, it happened. After several games that left us barely speaking to each other, we decided we needed to do one of two things. One, stop playing games altogether, which would've seriously changed how we spent our time with a lot of our friends or two, find some way to be competitive and still speak to each other by the end of the night. We went for option number two and settled on prayer as the way. Seriously. Before we'd go to a game night or have people over, we'd just spend a few minutes focusing on what was important and making sure our marriage was a bigger deal than who got to 10 points first.  For the most part, it worked.

A few weekends ago our good friends came over to play games. This is nothing new. Much of our social life, especially post four-year-old bedtime social life, involves these friends walking across the street to hang out with us.  Our repertoire is no longer limited to Settlers and these friends are always learning new games and teaching us. That night they brought with them a game called Killer Bunnies.  This is a card game that basically takes zero skill, lots of vindictiveness and random luck to win.

When I found myself stuck for a half hour without any ability to make a move, I got pretty frustrated. Bored. Annoyed at the game. When finally, after this frustrated, bored and annoyed waiting, I was able to make a move, my husband promptly killed my bunny and sent me back to the land of waiting. Though I'm not proud to admit it, I threw my cards at him. I did. I was so angry. So mad at his stupid killer bunny.  So unimpressed with a game that so totally pushed every kind of organized and controlled button in my personality. Needless to say, the night's tone changed. Maybe some men would enjoy their wives throwing their cards at them, but mine didn't. I know he loves me for my passion, but I'm pretty sure, at that moment, he wasn't thinking how dear that particular personality trait was to him.

After our friends left, we stayed up talking for awhile. I apologized, we hashed it out, I reflected on the fact that this was probably NOT a great game for us to attempt to play together given my personality and we realized that at some point we had stopped praying together before our game nights. Maybe we got too cocky- after all, it had been years since we had had a big blowout rooted in some game changing angst.  At any rate, we came to the conclusion that maybe it was time to bring back our pre-game.

It's funny how even silly things like a game where crazy bunnies kill each other can make you see how foul your heart can be.  I couldn't stand to be helpless, to watch each turn pass me by because I was just unlucky at drawing the right card. And I couldn't stand to lose the tiny little ground that I had gained to what I perceived as a heartless move by my spouse.  After I threw those cards, though, I realized (not without the help of those at the table) that you just have to let it go. To go into the game knowing that you have no control, that the game is all chance and just ride it out, hopefully killing other peoples bunnies in the process. Sounds a little like life: Not the chance part or killing other people's bunnies part, but the part about going into it knowing you really have no control and just riding it out.  I come back to this again and again. Waiting is hard, not knowing outcomes is difficult and risky and frustrating. Not having control over life can put me at my most fearful, but giving into those feelings of frustration and fear usually only brings out the worst of my heart, only makes me hurt the people around me more easily because I become so self-focused.

The riding it out part can only happen when I'm trusting.  Trusting not in a possible win but in a God much bigger than myself and thinking of the ride as something not just to be endured but to be experienced and embraced and, yes, often enjoyed, even when I don't know what will happen next.   

And I can comfort myself with the fact that in life I can, at the very least, be sure that I'm unlikely to be attacked by any killer bunnies anytime soon.      

2 comments:

  1. Carolyn, your mom recommended your blog to me. It sounds like we are on the same page. I am new to blogging, but I've been sharing my heart with my women's group Bible study. One of those good friends has been trying to convince me to "blog" for quite some time. So, I finally took the plunge. I look forward to reading your blogs.Thx for leading the way. = )

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  2. Hey. I spent 2 hours this evening realizing that our new ipod doesn't work with the itunes we have, which we can't upgrade because of the OS I have on my mac. I was furiously looking around the mac site for a place to write a scathing review, when I clicked open facebook and saw you had posted.

    This was PERFECTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO READ friend! I started with the no girls post and then killer bunnies drew my eye. This one was so funny, the other was sad and I could easily identify with both. I read some to Josh and he said, "that makes me want to be her good friend."

    Thanks for the posts. They're beautiful. And thanks for reminding me that I should be spending my evening, not on a silly thing like scathingly taking Apple to task, but with my husband, possibly praying. I'll spend time praying for you first!

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