The Detoxing Man is Unfinished (with himself and with his relationships)
We play a lot of board games as a family. From Codenames to Monopoly, Exploding Kittens to Ticket to Ride, we play even when there are other things that we would rather be doing on our own. The games, for us, are a momentary respite from the stresses of work and school. For a few minutes (or hours in the case of Risk), there is only the world of the game and the fun we will have within it. To be clear, some of the games make us angry. There are even some games that we will not play for months at a time because they bring tears for the losing side.
But, I never mind losing. I don’t mind coming in last or playing just to see who has the best strategy among my three children. I am there because it is far more fun for me to play than it is to win. Winning is a bonus and sometimes only a consolation prize. Play is the thing, laughter at a preposterous move is the thing, watching us maneuver and dance with one another around the board is the thing. Winning is, in fact, nothing. It is nothing more than the end to the game, and most of the time, I don’t want it to end.
I realized at some point that being unfinished was way more interesting than being done. It was where the action was, where the momentum and the pleasure of learning was. Being finished means that there is no more to do, no more challenges and no more inquiry. And when it comes to myself and my relationships, being finished means that there really is no more growth. It means that I have no more capacity to improve or moments of realization when I find there is more to myself or to the people I love.
Rather, I prefer to be unfinished in a way that brings nearly constant joy. I am unfinished in a game that has an end, but not one that I can clearly see. I know that I am closer to it today than I was yesterday, but I don’t know how much further I have to go. It is exciting because I get to figure out the rules as I go, and change a few along the way if I can. I am unfinished in working on myself, hoping that new experiences will reveal more of who I am meant to be. It is through conversation, perspiration, and contemplation that I continue the work of being unfinished. I speak with others to gain knowledge of the world and of the relationships that are now possible within it. I work on my passions, requiring great effort to bring them to light. I learn as much as I can by reading and listening, inquiring within to see what leads to greater understanding. And I believe that the Great Unfinished Game of Myself is the best one that I will ever get to play. And I am so glad that I have others who want to play it with me, every day.