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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Game of Life


First thing, let's get the disclaimers out of the way so everyone can relax.  I'm not trying to sell you anything.  I'm not attempting to convert you to some weird, new-age, psycho-babble nonsense being passed off as "religion."  If you're interested in politics, you probably won't find much here to keep you interested.  And I'm certainly not suggesting we form a commune in the Arkansas River bottoms, eat only green food and drink purple Kool-Aid, and take mud baths with aliens from outer space to stop the aging process while we wait for the mother ship.  But like everyone else, I do have an agenda. 

Thanks to those of you joining me here in the second paragraph, even though you may be sitting there with a slightly wary or confused look on your face.  My agenda is really pretty benign, maybe even a little self-serving since I figure that it’s cheaper than therapy.  I simply want to share a few of my somewhat tilted observations with a healthy dose of humor (or maybe silliness, to some) thrown in for good measure.  Apparently, my gene pool has quite the imagination; or as someone recently told me, “Some of y’all are about a half a bubble off center, and the rest of you just ain’t right.”  Well, yeah…and we work really hard to do it so well. 

With all of the craziness occurring in this country and around the world, I’ve been thinking a lot about life in general lately.  More specifically, about what gives life its, well, life. What gives a life its basic essence, its texture, its definition?  Good ‘ol Mr. Webster defines life as a living being, a period of existence, a prison term, a board game, etc.  I remember getting into trouble as a child after shirking some particular responsibility and my mother firmly telling me, “Young lady, life is not a game!”   I imagine I was in complete agreement at the time since she had just whipped my butt instead of giving me a prize.   

But what really makes life vibrant and three dimensional as opposed to being merely an existence?  The answers are as unique as we are.  Once upon a time, I asked my daughter (then an older toddler) why she had done a particular thing.  She smiled confidently at me and replied, “For days.”  At the time, I wrote it off as childish gibberish.  For some reason, though, her answer stuck in the depths of my mind, occasionally resurfacing for brief speculation as to what she had meant.  Not too long ago, I overheard an older woman say to her companion, “For the days.”  I had no idea what they were talking about, but I immediately thought about my little girl’s answer to my question so many years ago.  It occurred to me that “Days” are the reason we do anything and everything.  “Days” are playing cards in the game of life (yes, it’s sappy, but humor me; I do have a point).  Most of us want more of them.  More days to play out our triumphs and celebrations, to recover from tragedy or trauma, to right a wrong, and to love and laugh with someone, just a few reasons among millions more.  More days to get life right.  More days just to have more.  

Life is a game of sorts.  But is the object of the ‘game’ to have more days just to hoard them, or is it about having more days to give away?  How we play each day obviously determines its value  and whether we win or lose, not only to ourselves, but to others as well.  As I sit here writing (OK…so I’m daydreaming and letting my overdeveloped imagination run wild), I’m tallying the worth of my cards, finding that I have more than I care to divulge that could be worth much more if they had been played at the right time—maybe with my daughter, my church, my community—for as little as a few seconds to extend a simple kindness or for as much as the whole day to change someone else’s game of life. 

When our days are done, will we be holding a handful of meaningless days, or will there be only memories left of days well played?  Play your cards right. Change the game for yourself or someone else. 

Look at it like this…if you’re out doing something for someone else, you won’t be home when the aliens come over to offer you a mud bath and all the green food and purple Kool-Aid you could possibly want.

 
Game of Life:  Outcome to be Determined

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