Dinner was a hit. Clean up was a cinch. The baby was bathed and snuggled-down for the night. So suggesting a family board game after dinner felt like good fun.
“Can we play Candy Land?” the three-year old begged. “Pleeeease?”
“Sure, sweetie,” I replied. Turning toward my husband, I said, “Hey, hon. Do you mind getting the game started? I forgot I need to prep this food for tomorrow’s menu. It’ll just take me a few.”
The closet door groaned, the children squealed, the box top wobbled on the dinner table. Our first family game night was about to happen. I couldn’t help but smile.
“I wanna be the Green Man!”
“I wanna be the Red Man because red is my FAVORITE color.”
The children peppered up and down in their chairs, in and out of game set up, and over and above reasonable volumes.
Water boiled and steamed on the stove; I plunged my hands into the soapy mounds, taking joy in my children’s daddy setting up Candy Land for the first time.
“Now, how does this work? Daddy has never played this game before,” he said, asking the children to guide the set up and play.
It’s hard to believe that a grown man and father has never played a simple child’s board game, but there we were. My heart swelled within my chest as I heard my children explain the concept.
“Daddy! You put the cards HERE! And you move with the card colors!”
My mouth started to express how excited I was that my children were being so sweet to their daddy and teaching him how to play Candy Land when a memory forced its way to the front and sucked the breath right out of me.
Faster than a sudsy bubble pops while doing dishes, I was in my family-of-origin home playing Monopoly.
Mom to the left. Sibling to the right. Dad across the board.
Around “Go!” we had gone several times. The atmosphere was tense, as usual. Bickering about this or that.
I remember laughing; I got a good play, or maybe dad had to pay up big. Either way, I laughed. Mom laughed. Sibling laughed. Dad didn’t laugh, but I thought we all were having fun.
Then he did it, and that’s where my memory dropped me–as a grown woman, now mama–right there in front of the Monopoly board flipping over in my direction. Pieces tumbling this-a-way and that-a-way. Golden, pink, green, blue monies flitting about in slow motion onto the floor. The Go! corner headed for my face.
Actually, in my memory, the money never cascades to the floor; it stays always falling, never hitting bottom. Dad’s mouth perpetually open, saying something deafening, and I can’t hear the words.
I grasped the edge of the sink, still hearing the sweet giggles of Candy Land, but still hearing the sour bellowing of Monopoly.
O Lord, what is this emotion I’m feeling? O Lord, help me.
He answered: Hurt. Disappointment. Despondency.
Oh, how I wanted my daddy to play nicely, to have fun as a family. The little girl in me still longs for the unattainable.
I took another deep breath, turned my head to the side, trying to shake off the distasteful feelings and memory.
Lord, What are you trying to show me?
Again, he answered,
“Look! A new legacy I give you.”
On the spot, I whipped around, and this is what I saw:
It’s cliche, I know. My eyes welled. My heart clogged my throat. But, by golly, my hands worked quickly, grabbing that phone to capture this moment. The start of a new legacy through Candy Land.
Thank you, Father, for caring enough about my heart, its healing, and my family’s legacy to remind me You are at work. You make all things new.
Today, I’m accepting the dare to see God’s beautiful gifts of grace, healing, and restoration in me, my family.
What’s your next step?
Healing takes time. Maybe you are just beginning the journey. Maybe you’ve been journeying this path of healing a while. Consider counting your blessings and giving name to all the ways He is making you new, your family new, or your thought life new. Asking to see the good can be just as scary as facing the hurt. Ask Him. He loves you. And He wants to see you well. ❤ Dare you to share here.