LIFEGroup Reflections
The Group that Plays Together, Stays Together

A little while ago our LIFEGroup went bowling. Getting together just to play is a great way for people in LIFEGroups to get to know each other. You can learn a lot about someone when you bowl with them. Bowling is a seemingly simple sport. Roll a big ball and knock down ten pins 60 feet away. There are of course challenges. The lane is only three and half feet wide and on either side of the lane there are gutters for your ball to fall into.
We started bowling with bumpers up to prevent the balls from going into the gutter. Some used the bumpers more than others but almost all of us managed to break 100. We were laughing and having a good time. Everyone was feeling pretty good about themselves and the people around them.

Then someone had the bright idea of bringing the bumpers down. I hadnt hit a bumper all night but now on the very first throw of my second game, my bright electric blue ball was drawn to the gutter as if by an irresistible magnetic force. My second shot produced the same result. I stormed back to my seat behind the scoring station and watched the double zeros pop up in my score box. I felt a sudden compelling urge to smash the scoring monitor with my first but I thought better of it.

I wasnt the only one who was frustrated by this new challenge. The scores of those who employed the bumpers plummeted as did many of our spirits. There is something about failing at such a simple game that is incredibly infuriating.

People handle trials and struggles in different ways. Some people pout when their ball goes in the gutter. Some get angry and kick the ball return. Some just laugh and move on. People handle success in different ways as well. After a strike some people pump their fists in celebration. Some walk back silently, already concentrating on the next challenge to come. Some hold their success over those who fail.

In the end despite the gutter balls we all had a great time. I think thats why playing together as a group is so great. You get a small taste of how each person handles challenges and success. You learn just a little bit about how to love and support some one when they are in the gutter and how to share their joys when theyre throwing a turkey. And after the game is done you can look back and laugh about the whole thing because after all its just a game.