Monday, December 23, 2013

God, Chess, Candyland and Scrabble

In a meeting last week I was asked the question 'What is a sign of hope for you?'. Most people thought of images from the natural world. I thought of my wall of board games.

All board games fall on a spectrum. At one end are games like Chess and Go that have no luck element at all. You win by entirely by your own efforts, by your own grasp of strategy. If you lose (or when in my case) you have nobody to blame but yourself.

At the other end of the spectrum are games like Chutes and Ladders, Candyland or LCR. You are entirely at the mercy of the dice or the cards, at no point in the game do you ever make any decision. I tend to view this style of a game less as a game and more as a fun social activity.

I prefer games that fall somewhere towards the middle of the spectrum. Games such as Backgammon or Risk both have an element of chance, but it is the combination of luck together with the meaningful choices that you have to make to capitalize on your good fortune or mitigate your bad that appeals to me.

Why does this feel like a sign of hope? It is because when playing a game that is in the middle of the spectrum I know that even if I fall behind there is always the hope that good fortune will turn my way and I have a chance of victory. Last place never feels hopeless.

My relationship with God seems to fall on a very similar spectrum. There are times when it feels all on my shoulders. Life is like a game of Chess and it is all about the decisions I make. I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul.

This makes me very prone to ego.

At other times I feel that nothing I do matters. Like a game of Chutes and Ladders I am entirely at the mercy of the universe with God as Puppeteer manipulating my life for his own designs.

This makes me very prone to fatalism and depression.

I like to live in the middle ground between these two extremes. I try and do the best I can with what I have and I trust that God will somehow meet me in the gap and make what I offer so much more than just what I can do alone.

This makes me very prone to hopefulness....and why I find God in my collection of board games.


Gregarius said...

Great post, Pete!

Gregarius said...

Great post, Pete!