The Jumanji Effect

I haven’t had coffee since Sunday. 

200_sI have had Barnum and Bailey animal crackers, burpy diet coke, gallons of ginger tea, and a renewed appreciation for the cooling properties of tile floors. Since my allergy medicine was not given chance to kick in for a few days, a whomping bout of allergic rhinitis has joined the fun. Waah.

Surprisingly, I’ve realized how fortunate I am to only have this temporary junk in my system while access to fresh water, air conditioning, and loving humans abound. In fact, I have been a little proud of myself.

Yeah…I’m not whining. Look at me NOT WHINING and being grateful.

Until the other day when this video of my friend Joshua Thomas rolled down social media,

Joshua is a trailblazer: first-generation college graduate and World Race leader who left his North Georgia family for 11 months to offer fresh water, hands to help, and hope to folks who are among the most poor and marginalized across the globe. He is that rare person who is really good at working with at-risk kids. We attended the same church-in-a-bar where he gave of himself and his time with a quiet confidence found only in the most solid of people. As a new-to-Gainesville coffee hound, I’d see him in “Inman Perk” or at Starbucks and he never hesitated to greet, smile, and check in.

Joshua also has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or “ALS”.

He learned he had this neurodegenerative disease a year after returning to Georgia to work with more people needing the dignity and kindness he is.

jumanji-lionAnd though my life of faith lays strewn in tatters, his story, My Hope Remains, challenges me in typical Joshua fashion: with kindness, dignity, intelligence, and solid-ness.

This week I have been sicker than a mangy dog. And self-referentially sparky in the middle of temporary nastiness. With so much to learn.

Why the “Jumanji Effect”?
Well, while lying on the floor that first night and day, I kept thinking of what good could come from this. What can I learn?

Crazy things happen. 
We set our hands to one thing and a Pandora’s box of chaos and pain and fear explodes in our lives.
This is not the game we thought we were playing.

Have you seen the 1995 movie, Jumanji? It wanders from the originating children’s book a bit, but both end with resolution once the characters play the game through the frightful din and to its end.

The Jumanji Effect: if we can stick it out until the end, we have hope of resolution. We may not forget the terror encountered, but we need not be bound to it nor to the calamities wreaking havoc mid-game.

jumanjimokLet derring do define the play.

Finish the game. 

See it through.

And then let the monkeys motorcycle back into the game board.

One thought on “The Jumanji Effect

  1. Brilliant!! I often wallow in the pettiness, and pitty parties I throw myself, wondering not what can I learn. No, your sister either thinks Dear GOD take me now, or NOT now GOD I must have something to do.

    I like a good board game like many people. However about the time it has animals coming to life and driving cars and or poisonous plants shooting darts at me…I am ready to change games. LIFE anyone?

    That what it really is…LIFE. As Moe and I try to teach our eight and ten year old that life isn’t fair, and just because you want something doesn’t mean you will get it. We are learning and living this glorious thing called LIFE.

    I am inspired by your friend Joshua. His illness saddens me, yet knowing he has lived and continues to live LIFE, somehow gives me tremendous hope. Being a giver of time, knowledge, coffee and smiles is not only a gift, but a BLESSING.

    I Love You Allie!!! I am so glad we have traveled and continue to travel LIFE together.


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