I used to have a blog on Blogger. Then I decided to try to combine my endeavors into a single starting point. Here. I have now decided that when I want to share something personal, it will go here. This is my first post in this new space.
I am a Doubtful Christian. I became a Christian in college and walked it for over 10 years. I struggled with plenty of life and lots of things, so it wasn’t idyllic by any definition. Nearly 2 years ago I was steam rolled by life and have yet to recover. April 13, 2011 my Dad died just 7 weeks after stepping foot into a doctors office and 2 weeks after a “final” diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma, a word I can still spell even thought I never wanted to know the medical term for bile duct cancer. The faith I had prior to that doctor’s visit lasted just over a year past Dad’s death. Somewhere between April 2012 and July 2012 it broke. I don’t know what other word to use. It didn’t die. It hasn’t stopped. I haven’t renounced anything, except the physical church I was in because, oh my, the dysfunction and not fitting in. It just shifted, slowly, over weeks and months and longer. And that’s where I’m at for now. I’ve no idea where I’m going, but I still get up every morning and do life.
I have said for a very long time that God rarely answers my own prayers for my own life with a Yes. I truly do not remember the last time he told me Yes on anything larger than a green light at the next intersection. And after He told me No to sparing our family the loss of my Dad ….. well, it kind of spiraled.
My Mom and I went to a casino this weekend. It’s a family thing. It’s the only “vacation” or “fun money” she ever spends. She hands me $40 to spend and the last couple of times I’ve added $20 or $40 of my own. This weekend I thought, very fleetingly and in passing,
God, if you could let me win enough to buy a Kindle ….
that would be awesome. ($200ish)
Thing is … I play penny slots. So, winning enough to buy a Kindle would be truly ludicrous. For those of you that know nothing about slots, the machines have anywhere from 3 to 5 columns of symbols and 3 to 5 rows across. The slot spins those symbols and various combinations win you things. Original, basic machines did a single line across the middle for winning. It has now evolved to something so ludicrously complex I don’t even think the programmers know what they’re doing. There are now anywhere from 1 to 26 lines you can win across on, including any number of diagonals and jogs from one side to the other. In addition, you can bet a penny per line, 2 pennies per line etc. For me, there is a specific machine that has a certain bonus area that I love and that is the only reason I play at all. I never, ever expect to leave with anything more than I came with, but if I get to hit that bonus round once or twice and have some fun, then I’m a happy enough camper. I play every line because why not, but I usually play one or maybe two cents per line. It makes it last longer. With $40 and $0.50 per bet, it can take a little bit to run through that money, which has usually given my Mom enough time to get her own “fix.”
This weekend I found my machine and played a few minutes and got nowhere, so I explored. Threw a few bucks into another machine that looked interesting and got nowhere. Wandered some more and found another machine that was close to the one I like and tried that. Hit the bonus round twice and realized I still preferred that first machine I’d found. I cashed out and went back to that one. It has this progressive thing kind of like Bejeweled Blitz that when you won a line it would remove some of the symbols and let others drop in and you could win all over again. I ended up loving this machine. I hit a bonus round a handful of times and before I knew it my total was growing and growing and growing. Suddenly I had $75 sitting there. I decided it was time to cash out. I hit the cash out button and this message pops up on my screen
Mystery Bonus (something or other) $39.71(ish)
WHAT?? The ticket printed out at just under $110!!! I could hardly believe it. I buried that ticket in the bottom of my pocket so I could be sure it didn’t get lost!! And I still had my own $20 left in my other pocket! I got up and wandered awhile. Tried a few other machines and didn’t like them as much. Mom wasn’t ready yet, so I headed back to my machine. Put in the change leftover from the last machine and my $20 and hit Spin Reels. Well, friends, when my Mom texted me a bit later to ask if I was ready I told her I could be and that I was on a hot machine. Since I’d already won pretty big I decided not to press my luck too much and hit Cash Out again. This time the stub was for just under $40. Essentially putting me $100 ahead of the game.
And halfway to a kindle.
Although I’ve not been listening for God’s voice in a long time and I won’t claim that I heard it that day, I felt like maybe God was saying
“I won’t hand you a brand new kindle by playing slot machines, but I will give you a partial yes this time.”
I’m not sure what I’m doing with that yet, but it is floating around my grey matter.