Last night we returned from spending a week with relatives in Alabama. Picture nineteen people with strong opinions about how things should be done all crammed together in a medium-sized house. Unlimited potential for conflict, especially if one is perpetually drunk, and another is a teen-aged mother of a two-month-old child, and another threatened not to come to Christmas at all because he disapproves of the teen mom's behavior.
We prayed a lot about this gathering before we went, and God was merciful. In fact, if a neighbor had passed by the house at any given moment, rather than shouting and arguing, he would have been much more likely to hear laughter. Much of the credit for this can go to my college-aged son and a game he taught us. Anyone who can write a sentence can play this game, and all you need is paper and pencils. So I thought I'd spread the laughter by sharing it with you.
1. I'd say this game is best if you have five to nine players, but the number is flexible.
2. Each person takes a sheet of paper and writes a sentence at the very top. Then he passes it to the person on his right.
3. That person illustrates the sentence. The more abstract the sentence, the more difficult this step becomes (and the more humorous the results). No words are allowed in the drawing, but symbols like question marks or equal signs are okay. Then he folds the sentence back, leaving only his drawing visible. Each paper is passed to the right again.
4. The next person looks at the drawing and writes a sentence based on what he sees. Then he folds the illustration back and passes his sentence to the person on his right who attempts to illustrate the new sentence.
5. The process continues around the table until the paper returns to the person who wrote the first sentence. He unfolds the paper and reads all the sentences aloud to the group.
6. The papers are passed around the circle so everyone can enjoy the sequence of sentences and illustrations.
7. Pass out fresh sheets of paper and repeat the process as many times as desired.
We laughed so hard. For example, one of my original sentences was, "Light shines in the darkness, and it sets the people free." After attempts to depict this idea in pictures, it became, "Day and night I shine and adorn myself to make the cows happy."
I suppose we could extract a moral from this game--like the importance of clear communication, or the fact that different people see things from different perspectives. But for me it was all about the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt and tears pour down your cheeks.
So, next time you've got a crowd of family or friends together, gather them around the table, pass out the paper and pencils, and let tensions dissolve into laughter. It's a language anyone can speak.