One of our family’s favourite board games is ‘The Game of Life’. I personally prefer the original version of the game, but after many years of play, we needed to update and buy the new version. Unfortunately, the new version’s board is a lot smaller, and they have changed the format of the game. I suppose that happens when we try to modernise something that doesn’t need modernising. The only reason we decided to upgrade to the newer version was that our game was literally falling apart. Pieces were missing and the board was broken. Our trusty original ‘Game of Life’ had been thoroughly enjoyed and used for many years.
The ‘Game of life’ is similar to life. Players are given many choices along the way, like whether or not to go to college, the choice of jobs, buying a house, marriage, babies (sometimes twins), options to return to college and change jobs. Sometimes players will experience lifes challenges – loss of jobs, loss of relatives, major unforeseen bills, and so forth. As players head towards the end of the game, nearing retirement, they sell their homes, count their money, and receive money from the bank for each child (my bank doesn’t offer money for each child). The first one to finish gets to live in the multi-million dollar mansion (I don’t particularly want this).
We are all players in this thing we call life. Instead of a board game telling us what moves to make and how many steps at a time we can go, we have the ability to live our lives in the way we would like too live them. We have a say in how fast or how slow we want to live our lives. Humanity is always pushing the envelope when it comes to personal freedoms these days. Sometimes, even to the point of overstepping the boundaries we should adhere too.
Over the last few months, when I have been out and about, I have noticed that people have become more solemn and far less joyful. I struggle to find people with a spring in their step. I can’t help but notice that there seems to be an aire of unhappiness, discontentment, frustration and or uncertainty that looms over the hearts of many people I have seen when I am in town and going about our business. This seems strange to me considering we live in a country where our media tells us that we can have what we want and do what we want, when we want, and how we want to do it. We are free to be whatever and whoever we want to be.
The feelings we have regarding our life circumstances can have the power to prevent us from fully enjoying our lives – if we allow them too. As hard as it may be, we have to pull up our socks, or whatever else needs pulling up, and move forward with life.
Sometimes we need to be reminded that the key to happiness is gratefulness. We need to be grateful for what we do have, instead of focussing on what we don’t have. Happiness also exists when we choose to reject the crown and cloak of victim hood. My motto for life is ‘I am not defined by what others have said or done to me, and my circumstances don’t express my value’. When we allow offences to stick to us, we become stuck and unable to move forward.
Our objective as a player in this game of life is to ‘keep moving forward’. According to the ‘Game of Life’, our goal is the Mansion at the end of the game. For me, the mansion is metaphoric. I don’t need a big house with all the trimmings. The mansion for me is to know that I have lived my life well, and the relationships I have invested in throughout my life time will be deep and life long.
When Life throws us challenges, and it will, we have to deal with those challenges. We need to choose our attitude, thoughts and behaviour when we come up against situations that stop us in our tracks. Whether we like it or not, people will hurt us and we will hurt others – probably not intentionally, but it is still going to happen from time to time. This is why it is important not allow offences to stick to us. It is also why it is imperative that we reject that crown and cloak of victim hood. Remember, the goal is to keep moving forward.
I love that in the 2015 movie of ‘Cinderella’, Cinderella’s mother tells her daughter to always ‘Have courage and be kind” . I find this little phrase so useful. It comes to mind when I am speaking with people I don’t agree with, or people I prefer not associate with. Let’s face it, there are always going to be people in this world we would rather not be around. Sometimes we need to assertively communicate our boundaries, or our point of view – and this can be done in a way that is layered in love and respect, for the other person. My grandma, bless her soul, used to say ‘you catch more flys with honey, than vinegar’. Grandma always had good advice!
For many, 2017 has been a rough year. The reasons will be varied, but as the game of life continues, and we approach Christmas, I hope that those who feel down trodden, might find some joy in the reason for why we celebrate Christmas. If you are on the Sunshine Coast and would like to take part in Christmas celebrations, feel free to drop into Calvary Christian Church on Christmas Eve. Lifepoint Baptist Church in Maroochydore, also have a wonderful Christmas show for all the family, starting from the 15th December.
Have a wonderful Christmas!
If you are struggling at this time, contact Lifeline Care services on 13 11 14, and do for yourself what you would encourage a friend to do.