Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

In conversation recently with a new friend named Ingrid Guthrie, we were musing about an interesting phenomenon. I think of it as the checkers metaphor. You open up the box and take out the folded board and place it between you and the other player. You place your 12 circular pieces, half red, half black and each set up your side. The object of the game is to capture your opponent’s pieces, so that you triumph. It is an exercise in strategy as you attempt to determine where the other person will move their pieces. A bit of mind reading goes on at times. Sometimes you miss the obvious choices that are right in front of you. Sometimes you impulsively move and your piece gets captured as you groan. In the early stages of the game, you can only move in one direction, in diagonal mode to get to your opponent’s side of the board. Another goal is protect your back row, since once the other player lands in an empty space, they get ‘kinged’ or ‘queened’, with a piece placed on top. This new status comes with privilege, as you can now move forward and backward. The game ends when one person either has no more moves to make or all of their pieces are sequestered. Although there is a sense of competition involved, it is still fun.

It got me to thinking that life is like that. We begin with a certain number of opportunities to maneuver through our days on the planet. We have to move from one side of an experience to another, contemplating how to get through it, intuiting how to do so, without getting knocked out the game. We need to ‘earn our chops’ before we have the latitude to move in various directions. One might think of the back row as being an inferior position, but in the game of checkers as is sometimes true in the game of life, it is an enviable place to be.

Although I couldn’t find a song about the game of checkers, I offer you this song by Chubby Checker who I saw perform a few years ago, with a friend who took me to a concert for my birthday. The still vital and highly energetic icon from the 1960’s invited me to dance on stage with him and of course, I did.

 

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