I’m not sure if I’ve shared this story with you. Around this time last year I vividly remember having lunch at McDonalds. It was a normal enough day. I had traveled from Oakland via Bart to San Francisco for the High Noon meeting of AA. I was alone at McDonalds, feeling despondent dissatisfied – McDonald’s seems to fit that psychic energy. The monopoly game was going on and I remember having an attitude of “fuck it” – a case of the “fuck-its”… not unlike the attitudes I’ve been entertaining more recently. My mind made up I pulled the monopoly pieces from my coke. I remember having the thought, “you’re a winner” right before I pulled a piece, clearly blue, and the next thought that came to my mind was, not the recognition of “Boardwalk,” but the thought I had was distinct and clear, “That’s a really rare piece.” My attitude unwavering I finished my meal and threw away the trash. The following week an unexpected road trip with a good friend landed me back at McDonalds… only this time I noticed one particular monopoly piece with great concern. I pulled Park Place. At that moment I realized with significance and weight that the week before I had been holding a million dollar monopoly piece – Boardwalk. To my credit and fault, in honor of my karma and circumstance I threw it away.
I have reflected on this much. I have been playing monopoly this year at McDonald’s too much. At first my reflections were of the morbid, self-pity sort. This psychic lens only serves so long – if at all – before greater clarity comes. It is a huge mistake to throw away a million dollars. I couldn’t have been helped that day. I was bound to disappointment and anger. These poor, rigid attitudes cost me financial freedom. This is a fine lesson – beware of the “fuck-its” it could cost you much more than expected – but with a little more introspection, an injection of intuitive mediative listening I became aware of another layer of meaning, much more impressive. For years I have squandered my potential through addictive behavior. The consequences of time, the lost powers of manifestation, professionalism and income are seen through the comparison with my peers in the present. The million dollars I forfeited at McDonald’s that day was no different than the accumulated wealth forfeited through my continual decisions to use cannabis, rather than face my fears – ultimately not trust God with my life.
God does speak to me. I am scared to admit it because the responsibility is ever-present, the voice of conviction, refining. God’s voice is the voice of responsible action, response-ability. My privilege is not expired. It wanes under the weight of my debt and has but little more to support a life void of right action. This past year I have turned the corner on avoidance, shame, guilt. Now I face the feelings of responsibility, the kind that I know I have the power to meet, not only meet, but fulfill. That million dollars was mine. I gave it up. It was more than money. It was part of my inheritance due through right action. I can be sad about that… or I can realize the truth. The truth is that a million dollars isn’t worth having through McDonalds’ Monopoly game. It is worth more… indeed I owe it and myself the respect and responsibility of earning it. God is fully in love with me… Because I also know the probability of pulling the Boardwalk piece is less than 1 in over 3 hundren something million. Those odds aren’t enough for God’s love. God’s love for me exceeds the limit of odds… whose probability exceeds even greater limits, astonishing limits – “Billions and Billions” – (Carl Sagan actually has a book by that title ; ).
A million dollars has been withheld. For whatever reason I choose to see this memory of ‘failure’ as a gift. Like my addiction, I would not know grace without the sure knowledge that I am dependent upon forces beyond myself – upon God ‘if you will’.