My mother, even though saved, loved to play bingo and the nickle slot machines and was known to buy a lottery ticket once in a while before she went into the nursing home. In fact she always had some change in her drawer which never added up to a dollar. She would take out that plastic empty margarine cup she kept it in, shake it and say, as soon as I get a dollar I am going to have the boys, meaning one of my brother buy me a lottery ticket. Then, what she said next always made me cry. I'll get out of this place, meaning the nursing home if I win the lottery. I knew it would be death that finally got her out of the nursing home.
In her nursing home they played bingo twice a week and she went faithfully. When I went home to see her she insisted I play too, two cards, just like everyone else. I on purpose would lose because some of those residents would get upset if I won and they didn't, I was not a resident. Mom would always say, well Jo, you just got some bad cards. I depended on my sneaky skills when it came to bingo.
When she got to where she could not drive and was in a wheelchair she would say, Jo, lets go to the gambling boat, I'll buy the gas, pay for a room so we can stay all night and even buy your food. I regret not taking her once in a while when we were home, I really do. She was not really a gambler but she loved the people everywhere,laughing, having a good time, the excitement that she might win, and being with me. That is where my regret comes in, she just wanted to do something with me that she enjoyed.
She tried to be content winning a stuffed animal or some ceramic what not to put on a shelf that she did not have. She saved all the stuffed animals she had won. They were stuffed in every drawer, extra space she had in her closet. When I went to visit her we would go through them and she would pick out way too many for me to take home for the grandchildren. Once again my sneaky skill kicked in. I would say yes to what ever she wanted to sent with me, load it up and take it back the person in charge of bingo. About three to four weeks later those things would appear on the cart again to be won by somebody. She never remembered them.
Being a Missionary sometimes gets in the way of making people happy. I remember Ace's language helper wife smoked and every time she knew Ace was going to town she would ask him to get her some newspaper. In Paupa New Guinea village people would roll the tobacco leaf in the news paper. That woman loved my husband and she would laugh every time she saw him. I should have step out from behind the law and did what my husband did, showed a little grace. I think I worried I would run into someone who supported us at the gambling boat and judgement would be heaped upon our ministry. But if that had happened then I could have said , I won't tell if you won't. I remember our pastor telling us when we flew out of Las Vegas, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Mom would never want me to live in regret so I am choosing to put Philippians 3:13-14 into practice and look forward to seeing her in heaven.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus