The other day I went to friends for dinner. They live about
25 minutes drive from Faversham in a place close to the middle of nowhere
occupying an old water mill. The setting
is idyllic and their family beautiful, with three generations sitting around the
table eating wholesome food (including an apple and blackberry pie that tasted
like my grandmother used to make it).
The family share a strong faith bond as Jehovah
Witnesses (JW). Although prayer was said
before dinner, at no time was I, as a non-Witness coerced or evangelised
Sure, reference was made to faith and religion in regard to
conversation we had, but only insofar as when I made explicit reference to me
not knowing something or when discussing issues of relevance to the common
place conversations that take place over lots of tables up and down the country
whether about current affairs, the economy, or global politics or modern
For my part, I feel privileged to have been invited into
this family’s home as a non-Witness and been so wholeheartedly welcomed and
included in spite of any contamination my non-believing status might otherwise
imply to some parts of the Witness community.
I suppose I have laboured this point because I really do
want to stress that in ignorance and based on prejudice, I have heard things
about JW’s which might make one initially steer clear.
The actions of this family have made me question any shadow of prejudices existing in my mind and
confront my ignorance head-on. They are good
people in spite of or because of their faith.
If it is because of their faith, then they are ambassadors for it. Ultimately what matters to me is that they
are just good and my life is richer for knowing them.
Anyhow back to the point of this article.
I am not sure about you but our family used to play a lot of
Monopoly when I was a child. We used to
play to our own rules and games used to go on for weeks as a result. I used to cheat and when very young cry if I
was not enabled to poses Mayfair and Park Lane from the word go.
In fact in the most recent game I played with my sister and
little nephew last year much consternation was achieved when (without knowing the rules
regarding jail), I sold my nephew a get out of jail free card for £350. Later in the same game, I was sent to jail
and after reading the rules, I paid £50 to come out.
Again, back to the point.
As I arrived at my friend’s house a game of Monopoly was in
hand. It was too late for me to play in
my own name, so I partnered with one of the players.
The man of the house sat in the armchair, not playing but
engaged in the game nonetheless. He effectively
acted as referee and knew the rules of monopoly backwards. The game observed the rules unwaveringly
until, in the end, there was only one winner.
On reflection, playing the game to the rules means a more
dynamic game. It was fast and tough. I want to play the swift way from here on.
From now on as a result of the visit I will endeavour to
play to the rules, as far as Monopoly is concerned.