Posted by: pendrops | September 5, 2007

to play skeeball

Skee Ball!

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
~ Luke 18

“To receive the kingdom of God has something to do with being like a child. It’s not childish, but there’s something in a child that teaches us what the kingdom of God is like.”
~ Rob Bell

“I need to play Skee Ball,” I said to Jason when he got home from work last night. Without questioning, mocking, or trying to talk me out of it, he changed into some shorts and asked when we were leaving.

After listening to a recent Rob Bell message in which he brought all the church’s kids on stage and asked them to color a picture, I realized that I never play. Between Rob’s words about single-mindedness, forgiveness and humility, I heard the chatter of children in the background as they colored, completely preoccupied with the task given them; the task of playing.

I tried to remember the last time I played and came up empty. The closest I got was Sundays; when Jason and I leave the bed unmade, let dishes sit in the sink, and sabbath at a local bookstore. Even then, I read serious books about adult things and pontificate matters of life.

Last night, as we walked into the bright and noisy funhouse, I had singleness of mind. It was all about the Skee Ball.

“How many tokens we gettin,’” Jason asked. I whipped out $10 from our budget envelope entitled “Practicals” (because this was nothing less than practical) and we headed toward our game of choice with 50 tokens in hand.

Thirty minutes later, I had used all my tokens, hit a high score of 390,000, and garnered 170 tickets. At the ticket redemption desk, I scanned the prizes. For as stellar as 170 tickets is in 30 minutes, it didn’t get me much. A hackysak, a yo-yo, or 17 Tootsie Rolls.

Instead, I offered 10 tickets for a Tootsie Roll, gave the rest to the kid at the basketball machine (something I never would have done as a child), and we left.

“Wanna get some ice cream,” I said as we pulled away.

“Uh-huh,” Jason said, his eyes brightening.

Several minutes later, we were sitting outside, commenting on each other’s choice of mix-in, laughing about how I schooled Jason in Skee Ball – and I was doing so good. I was doing so good at being a kid, at not thinking about bills and unfolded laundry and a bad writing day, thinking about nothing other than my lemon-and-raspberry sorbet with coconut topping. I was doing so good until Jason started talking about his favorite movie, Donnie Darko, asking existential questions like, “Does time exist?” and “Is there a God?”

After a few minutes of philosophical babble, we began laughing at our finite minds, our incomplete logic, how childish our ponderings must sound to an infinite and uncreated God. We laughed all the way home about other things, laughed so hard that I ended up sitting on my foot so I didn’t wet my pants, the way I had to when I was a kid.

And as hard as I tried not to, I learned something: I’d never really want to be a kid again. I’m glad that I get to do adult things like stay up late, eat chocolate for dinner, and give of myself in very deep, very grown-up ways.

But I want to be kid-like, too, at least the way God recommends. Humble, filled with laughter, preoccupied with one thing only (namely, Him).

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