I don’t naturally enjoy working out in a gym. But, I’m doing it more now, along with other healthy things. I gravitate toward times when the gym is otherwise quiet. One day recently I took my iPad along and propped it up in front of the screen that keeps you up to date on your workout. I’m always looking for ways to distract myself from the lack of oxygen and joint pain that comes along with a lengthy elliptical workout, and I thought maybe playing games would help.
I was right, finding that just like when I’m home, time melts away when I’m focused on a more or less mindless but entertaining game. I decided that I’d try out my Solitaire game. It worked perfectly. I got to the point where I could time the pumping of my arms so that I could reach out with the extended arm and click on a card.
This week, for reasons that remain a mystery, I go in for my workout, open up the game, and the most random, bizarre thought pops into my head. What if, I think, I asked God to help me with my game? In all my experimentation the past couple of years with asking and receiving, I’d only really asked God to help in a crisis, or when I was frustrated, or out of my own options. What if I asked him to help me with something that was just pure fun, incidental diversion? Was that some kind of sacrilege?
What happened next left me laughing, giddy, slightly weirded-out and newly appreciative of my Higher Power’s sense of humor. Here’s how it went down…
I click the button to start a new game. The app deals the cards. Hey, so this is gonna sound super-weird, and I’m sure you have a lot better things to do with your time, but would you be interested in helping me play a game of Solitaire? (I don’t have to include his name in my thoughts, because he knows I’m talking to him.) I feel a slight wrinkling in my imagination, a miniscule but undeniable cleft in some unseen wall. I sense a presence inside, all around.
I think, Hmm, can I have a six please? I punch the deck to reveal the next card, which indeed is a six of spades. But what I really need is a red six, not a black one. Ahhh. Right. My asks need to be specific, I think. I feel rather than see a smile. I punch the next card and a six of hearts appears. Ta da! I place it in the column below the black seven, which allows me to move a black five from another column to reveal a new card. That just happened, I think. A fluke? I feel another irresistible smile pull up the reluctant corners of my mouth.
Okay, how about, hmm…a 10 of clubs to go below the Jack of hearts? The next card revealed is a 10 of clubs. Really?? Oh, c’mon! The smile spreads to a massive grin that I cannot control on my own face. It’s like my mouth just can’t help it. I’m having fun playing cards with God, I thought. Who knew?
I punch the next deck card and it comes up as an Ace of diamonds. I place it in one of the Ace slots at the top of the screen. (Side note: I haven’t once yet looked at the time.)
Let’s see, I think next I’d love a black Queen to put on that red King which would allow me to move the Jack/10 combo from the other column over. I flip over the next deck card, and get…a two of spades, which I can’t use. I frown a bit. I punch another deck card. An eight of hearts comes up. No good. I frown a bit more. Then a thought comes into my mind: slow down, look around. I look at the entire spread a little more closely and see that in fact, the better card to ask for would be a black three; it would cause a long domino effect that would far surpass the black Queen play. OK, how about a black three? Bingo.
This went on and on, and as it did, I became really tired (from the exercise and the brainwork), and finally didn’t even know what card to ask for any more, but at this point I just had faith that the good cards would keep coming, and they did.
It was an odd and thrilling experience. Every revelation caused a frisson at a cellular level. I know, I know, it sounds weird. I already hear the doubters rolling their eyeballs and saying, “yah, it could just be chance, and it happened to synch up with what you asked for for one round. And when you didn’t get the card you asked for, you justified it by using another explanation…” I hear all that, heck I thought all that, but the feeling of a special presence and atmosphere just wouldn’t go away.
And after every gift, I’d laugh and say “wow, thank you!” until I just shook my head, not even verbalizing the repetitive gratitude.
Regardless of what was going on, I took some lessons from it that I think have relevance in the broader learning around the subject of asking and receiving. Here they are…
- When you ask God for help, be specific. If you need help with your bookkeeping, don’t just ask for that. Ask for an affordable, available, qualified bookkeeper who specializes in the area you need them to, and is within 15 minutes’ driving distance of your house or office. This is the same kind of specificity recommended in The Secret, which relates to this in that its philosophy encourages asking openly and honestly will attract what you need from the Universe, no matter how you describe divinity or God. Not being specific will still bring you what you ask for; it just might not be exactly what you need. Be careful what you wish for is a good phrase to keep in mind.
- If you don’t get what you asked for, slow down and look around. Maybe what you need is actually somewhere nearby and you’ve just overlooked it.
- If you get something different than what you asked for, look closely at that, too. Maybe it’s a smarter or better alternative than what you actually asked for. Try to learn from that, and be grateful that sometimes you don’t get what you ask for.
- When you’re too confused to even know what to ask for, just have faith. The God of your understanding will lead you in the right direction. Period.
- There is no restriction on how many times you ask. There’s no limit on asking for help. It’s not like a grocery store special (Get 2 for 1, but only on Wednesdays and only one offer per customer.) We need to ask for help every day, in various small or large ways. It’s integral to how we exist as a communal species. We are happier when we lean on, and are leaned on in return. We feel valued and allow others to feel it too.
When I want to feel that amazing connection again, I will continue to play Solitaire with God. It’s faith-boosting, and joy-inspiring. Even if it is a little self-indulgent.
Ask & you shall receive,