When I was little we often went to dinner at my great-grandparents’ house. The kids would drink shirley temples while the adults sat at the dining room table, eating liver and onions and biscuits with apple butter, talking about things I never heard. I like to imagine my great-grandparents told stories of the Great Depression and wars, but maybe they just admired the china and spoke of the weather. After dinner, the adults played games with heavy white dominos that came in a felt-lined wooden box. They gave the kids dominos, too, except ours were black and made of plastic.
To this day I don’t even know how the game of dominos is actually played. In my opinion, there’s really only one good use for dominos–lining them up, tipping one over, and watching them all fall. That’s what I’d do in my great-grandparents living room, on their awful 70’s shag carpet. I would make careful rows of dominos close together, sometimes placed in neat circling patterns that looked really pretty. Then, after all of the hard work and focus, I’d watch as the push of one finger on the first domino would start a chain reaction, and one-by-one the black game pieces would tip over and hit the next in line, and the next, and the next, until they had all fallen.
Last week I watched dominos topple over one another and fall in an unstoppable chain reaction. These were the dominos that I’d stood on their sides with all of my hard work, aspirations, pretenses, and dreams. So many things sequentially fell apart, one-by-one.
In one long week I was told to quit doing something I love because I’d never amount to anything great. I was reminded that I failed at the race against the clock to finish college in 4 years. I spent days feeling useless and without purpose at work. I experienced pangs of deep jealousy and feelings of inadequacy watching one of my best friends get constant attention for being so beautiful, while I stood by unnoticed. I missed a deadline, forgot to do important things, ate junk food, and didn’t work out. I sent emails and calls and texts putting myself on the line for internships with only negative responses. I spent the days irritable, and negativity flowed from my mouth like a poisonous venom. Then I spent the nights feeling like an awful person for it all.
I was left feeling like I was floating weightless, with nothing to stand on, and my stomach just kept dropping like I was in a free fall. It’s a feeling I know well–it’s called rejection.
In the end, all I could think of was raising a frustrated fist to God and yelling, “I mean really, I don’t have any more dominos to push over here, dude.” (I only refer to God as “dude” in moments of desperation, or something.)
I think first He laughed a little, because I like to believe even God lets out a good “LOL” from time to time. Then in a God-speed instant, a revelation washed over me. God loves the sight of our little dominos of selfish-ambition tipping to their sides. The faster we let go of our own will for our lives, the sooner God can work.
So I must choose to be glad when the dominos come crashing down. Instead of feeling rejected, I dig my toes in the shag carpet and sip my shirley temple, while I watch them topple in their pretty circular little patterns and think thankful prayers for God’s hand in all things.
by Kati SmithLeave a Comment