This weekend, my fiancee and I took a trip to my hometown to visit my family.
The trip was relatively normal. We went to my brothers and had lunch and played a bunch of games. At the moment my fiancee and I have yet to find others in town to start a game group so these trips are also the nearly only time we get to play all our new games with more than just ourselves and the occasional child we con into joining us.
The only real difference in this trip was we transported a friends dog, who felt they weren’t home enough to care for him, to my mother.
And yet on this trip I felt even closer to my soul mate than I ever have. But let’s back up first.
For those few of you who were around to read the first few posts of this blog, and then for some reason stuck around to read posts that actually got real and meaningful, will know that I’ve had a rough patch in my early-mid life. I had married a woman I was sure I would spend the rest of my life with. She had 3 children, one teen I unfortunately clashed with, and then a preteen and tween that I go really close to. And she introduced me to her church that was unlike any church I’d ever gone to.
But sadly, she didn’t keep the Holy Spirit close to her and instead let her physical wants take over. She decided to leave me for other people. I lost the whole family I’d come to know and depend on over the 3 years we were together.
This made me magnify all the negativity in my life and I ended up leaving my job. I then also overstayed my welcome with a family member and found myself homeless, moving from cheap motel to cheap motel, interspersed with the occasional night or more spent sleeping in my car.
I lost almost everything I owned including the only thing I had from my father, his wedding band, that I had worn every day since getting it for over 6 years. I’d lost my past, my present, and the foreseeable future. For over 6 months, I felt and for all intents and purposes was, alone.
I ended up getting a job at AT&T over 2 hours away from where I’d been living in my hometown and thought that God had delivered me into this new job for a reason. But instead he’d delivered me to the new city to meet the real love of my life. My actual future was in a town another hour north, and a job I would have never dreamed of a few years ago.
My fiancee and I took a vow to abstain until we were married. That was about a year and a half ago and we have kept that promise to each other and to God. It’s been one of the most important and significant decisions of our lives. Instead of building a relationship out of a sexual beginning, we have built a relationship out of communication and understanding. And while our wedding has been postponed thanks to various issues we continue to simply grow closer together.
And this weekend was no different and a perfect example. We are both a couple of huge geeks and have found our equal interests in board games. We watch videos of board games being played, reviewed, previewed, and explained. Our entertainment budget is pretty much exclusive to a small amount spent on board games each check. We don’t drink so we don’t go to bars, we cook at home almost all the time, and we rarely even go to the movies.
So these chances to play games with my family excite us even more so over the great conversation we know we’ll have. This weekend the star of the show, for us, was Ticket to Ride. While we played Forbidden Island and Nerts and had Small World and Arkham Horror available, 2 rounds of Ticket to Ride left us talking long after we’d started the 3 hour drive home.
Having only played the game 2 player style, except for one game with 2 reluctant kids, we had no idea how much we would enjoy a few games with a full compliment of 5 people actively trying their best to win. The board filled up quickly, tempers occasionally flared as routes got blocked off, and only a few colorful phrases got thrown around. We had taken a game we knew we liked and had it turned into one of the best experiences we’d ever had.
You see, a board game is something so much more than a video game or just dinner and a chat. Having grown up on video games, understand I’m not knocking them but even playing a 4 player round of Mario Kart still has you interacting more with a controller than a person. Talk is limited to smack and there is no way to pause the action and tell a quick joke or short story without actually PAUSING the action.
And dinner and a conversation is just that, dinner and a conversation. Teaching my rather competitive mother how to play and then helping with tips, tricks, and strategies had us conversing closely in a way we hadn’t done since I was little. Because one thing God has given me lately is a renewed relationship with her, as we had grown apart letting life get in the way.
So my lovely fiancee and I didn’t really get to talk while we were there. This isn’t uncommon as my family is loud, and there were 7 adults and 6 various aged children in the small home. And my family is loud. And there were a lot of us. And we’re all very loud.
It was loud.
So as we left I was ready to share this electric charge I’d gotten from T2R with her. She had wanted this game and it is considered ‘hers’ so I was excited to tell her how much I’d enjoyed it. All I had to say was “man that was so much more fun with 5 people” and her face lit up. We’d shared an experience from across the table, without needing to talk to each other at all.
I felt closer to her than ever before and fell in love with her all over again.
God took a broken agnostic and showed him grace. He then humbled that new Christian and showed him what true joy is. He then gave me a woman to keep reminding me of that.