Spark of Hope #114 – Five Lessons of a Checkered Life

My Kindergarten Photo
My Kindergarten Photo

Spark of Hope #114 – No single inventor is known for the game dating back to the 12th century in France. The British call it “Draughts” and Americans call it “Checkers.” It’s been a family favorite since my childhood. During my Dad’s recent hospitalization, we dug it back out of the closet. As we maneuvered on the 8″ X 8″ board with our twelve pieces each, bound in two directions, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels to life itself.

1. What you see isn’t all there is. If we sit too long in one spot, it’s easy to lose sight of the range of possibilities. Our abilities aren’t confined by what we’ve done or not done. No matter where we are, there are more opportunities for us across-the-board and beyond.

2. Where you start isn’t where you finish. It’s important to remember that we’re making progress, as long as we keep moving. The big picture can get overwhelming if we try to tackle it too fast. It’s okay to take your time; there’s no need to hurry. Take it one move at a time, moment by moment.

3. It’s not a losing battle. Even when we steer clear of the obstacles, we still get checkers-300x199blind-sided by the unexpected from time to time. Jumped! Taken! “I should have seen that coming!” If you lose sight of a piece or two, don’t let fear take over. There are many more pieces to this picture. You’re not losing in the battle; you’re learning in the battle.

4. Slide forwards and backwards. The benefit of looking back on life is that it teaches us how to go on. Lessons learned along the way — even with a checkered past — serve to remind us of how we’ve grown in the struggles. That’s inspiration to keep us going!

5. The King Rules. Sometimes, things happen in life that make us feel inadequate. I don’t think God causes bad things to happen. Instead, I think He uses the bad things to teach us greater compassion, love and hope. When it looks like we’re down to one final piece, God can still provide us with more. Miracles do happen. He can make Huge Outcomes Possible Everyday. HOPE remains, even when you lose a game or two.

Hope is like a spark; if the conditions are right, it can spread like wildfire. Hope feeds the soul, ignites passion, and inspires others. Tucked inside each of us is a child-like spark that says: never forget to dream, play and imagine. HOPE is the extraordinary spark that says Huge Outcomes are Possible Everyday!

One thought on “Spark of Hope #114 – Five Lessons of a Checkered Life”

  1. Maryann,
    I love this reflection on the game of checkers. My Dad taught me this game when I was a kid and he taught me two valuable lessons not unlike your reflections. One lesson is that you must continue playing if at first you do not succeed in winning and secondly, that one will never improve upon his or her skills unless you are challenged by a mentor who knows the game better than you. It took me almost five or six years of playing against my Dad when I was a kid before I was able to defeat him one time. Today, I may beat him only one time out of five. This is symbolic of his mentoring relationship with me in life. Thank you for the bringing these memories afresh to me and your insights which are very positive and helpful. Blessings my friend,

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