Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Bet We Lost

This is a guest post from Meredith Frediani. You can follow her on Twitter here!


Ten or so years ago, when we thought our kids were witless, we made a bet with them.
“If any of you can find a word that rhymes with orange, we will give you $100.”
“Really?”
“Really.”

Their eyes lit up, the brain wheels started turning.  They were old enough to understand the challenge and that $100 is a lot of money, yet too young to navigate the still fairly young world wide interweb.  They accepted, and for several weeks flung orange sounding words at us.

“Borange?”
“Nope.”

“Rorange?”
“Nuh-uh.”

“Lorange?”
“Can you use it in a sentence?”
“The lorange ran fast.”
“No.”
“A lorange is nice.”
“Still no.”

They kept at it with a persistence that frankly surprised us.  Who knew our little chicklets were so financially motivated?  In time, their fervor died down and several years later we admitted to them that there is no word that rhymes with orange.  We’d been messing with them.  They were nominally indignant but recognized they’d been bested.  We recognized it would probably never happen again - they were getting too smart.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017.  Those witless kids have evolved into witty teenagers with access to the now more sophisticated internet.

One fateful June day our youngest,  who possibly has the best memory of anyone in this outfit, dropped this on us:

“You owe me $100.”
“Beg pardon dear?  What are you talking about?”
“I found a word that rhymes with orange.”

Two things crossed our minds: 1) how on earth did he even remember this bet? And 2) he must be kidding.  He is the master funster of the family.  Our response?

“Bring it kid.”

“Sporange.”

Yeah right.  At least make it sound like a real word.  He just added a couple consonants to “orange” and caught us when we were tired.  We applauded his effort and prodigious memory but reminded him that he cannot outwit us.

Apparently though, he did.
Sporange - n.  a single-celled or many-celled structure in which spores are produced, especially in fungi, algae, mosses and ferns (thefreedictionary.com).

Thud.  The sound of defeat at the hands of our child.  After fact-checking his assertion, we paid him $100.  This was a mighty, mighty victory.  Hard won.  When we recovered from the shock of our appalling loss, we collected ourselves and recognized this for what it really was - a lesson in persistence.  Unbeknownst to us, this kid was noodling this around for a decade and his dedication paid off.

I frequently pray for patience but after this unexpected defeat, I realize I also need to pray for persistence.  The Lord desires our cooperation but also our endurance.  This is no sprint.  We need to tie our shoes and keep a steady pace.  We need to be persistent.  There are times when I feel like dropping out of the marathon that is my interior life, but I cannot.  I can take a water break but I must continue on.   I need to keep at it even when I don’t feel like anything is coming of it because feelings aren’t good indicators of prayer prowess (thank you Fr. Jacques Phillipe).  

In short, I need persistence.
Persistence in going to Jesus in prayer even when I have no words and I think I have no time.
Persistence in remembering I am a loved child of God, even when my faults are persisting in making me feel like a failure.
Persistence in patience because people are messy and God’s timeline is not the same as mine.
Persistence in remembering that God loves all of us, not just those I’m friends with.
Persistence in gratitude for the quiet blessings of each day.
Persistence in a quest for humility.

Losing that bet was worth more than $100.

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