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I’ll take door number two, Monty!

by Mary Domb Mikkelson

MaryDombMikkelson3The announcement appeared on a neighborhood website, a site dedicated to neighbors sharing and helping each other.  You know the type:  “Anybody know a reliable plumber?”  “My poodle strayed…please watch for her.”  “Free dining room hutch.”  “Watch out for this woman (picture attached).  She’s been seen trying door handles!”  And so forth.

The announcement?  It invited neighbors to join in what could be described as a Neighborhood Watch on steroids.  The presumption of eminent calamity was clear – there was mention of martial law, closed freeways, empty grocery shelves, gangs coming for your food, water and, of course, weapons.  Natural disasters were mentioned but given rather short shrift.   The answer?  Coalescing into a neighborhood protective society, complete with storage of supplies (twenty years’ worth), martial arts classes, guns…and more.

I found myself thinking of Monty Hall and Let’s Make a Deal.  Remember the show?  A contestant was given the choice of three doors.  Behind one was a valuable prize – a new car, perhaps.  Behind the other two were far less to be desired items – goats were popular.  If, say, door number three were chosen, Monty would open one of the others, one, perhaps, revealing that goat, boots made of butter or other “Zonk” prize).   He then gave the contestant a chance to change the choice made – “Would you like to keep door number three?  Or change to door number two?  A classic probability puzzle.

Okay.  Let’s put the steroidal neighborhood group behind door number one.  What might we find behind numbers two and three?

Three first.  And, as prizes go, this one could be described as cozily familiar and comfortable.  It’s life as you live it today.  A few problems in the world, of course, maybe more than a few, maybe even enough to have you remembering what the Bible says about “wars and rumors of war” and “famines and earthquakes in various places.”  But the end times?  Surely not.  After all, you – and most of the people you know – have loving families, homes, food on the table, maybe even a little extra money in the bank.  You go to church, give to the charities of your choice, say your prayers, believe in God’s unconditional love and extravagant welcome.  Life’s pretty good and you’re grateful for it.    Door number three isn’t a goat – right?  Right?

Which brings us to door number two.  What would you find there?  Would you believe the fulfillment of the Beatitudes?  The word made flesh in human action and deeds.  A world in which the hungry (for food, for comfort, for love, for…) are filled and the peacemakers are honored as the children of God.  A world in which, as was posited in a recent worship service’s Gathering Words, “hope has an address” – your address, my address, the addresses of “the poor in spirit,”  “those who mourn,”  “the meek,”  “the merciful,” “the pure of heart” and “the persecuted”  –  everyone’s address.  “God loves everyone,” you know.  “No exceptions.”    Our role in the world of door number two?  As quoted in those same Gathering Words, “There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control.  We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.”  (Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky)

As mentioned earlier, the three doors are a probability puzzle.  When playing Let’s Make a Deal, the odds are greatly in the contestants’ favor if they switch from the door first chosen.

In the puzzle posited here, hidden behind door number there – your door – is the life you’re used to and pretty happy with.

Monty opens door number one, revealing the “goat” of life spent in fear, especially of others.

Forget it!

What to do?  The puzzle posited is far from simple – risking what you have for what you could have, for what might be.   In this case, risking being satisfied for being blessed.

Take that risk, open that door and hope, will indeed have an address…that of our world and our future.

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