A friend of my who is very compassionate and really loves people, was trying very hard to understand me and the feelings of dis-connectedness I've felt since being back in America. The best way I was able to describe it was that living back in America (or living in any culture/country, for that matter) is like playing a board game. First, you have to learn the rules. You've got to know what's allowed and what's not. After you've got the rules kind of down, you start playing. You roll the dice or spin the wheel and move your piece around the board, buying here, selling there, landing on your opponents and sending them back to START. Sometimes you lose a turn and get mad. Sometimes you roll doubles and get really excited. It might be a game that even requires some strategy and you plot and think of ways to do what you need to do to get ahead, and times you start to worry if your bishops get taken or you run low on money.
But, here's the thing, throughout it all: the rolling, buying, moving, stress, worry, and happiness, you know it's just a game. It's like you're in on the joke. The thimble may think it's landing on real property, Col. Mustard might think he's actually figured out that it was Mrs. Peacock with the knife in the Conservatory, but you know that it's all pretend. You know it's not the way the game is played everywhere, and really, it's just cardboard and plastic with a set of "house rules" that only apply in this particular two-dimensional world.
And that's where the tension lies. You know to have any fun at all, you've got to learn the rules and you want to fit in, but there's something inside you that you just can't shake, that keeps reminding you this is not how it's done everywhere, and just because when these people play they get money for landing on Free Parking, doesn't mean that's how everybody plays.
I think that's how it should be with Christians as well. We've been let in on the joke, and thanks to the Bible, we're able to see things for what they really are. I think it'd be helpful for me to remember that in all the joy, sorrow, tension, and elation I experience in this world, that this is really just a game. The way we do things here on earth is not the way the rules actually say to play, and no matter how real it seems, it's just the game of Life.