Minute #614: Card Game

The children sat on the floor in a circle and Dov dealt the brightly colored cards to all the players. Each child quickly picked up his card as it was dealt, placed it in the appropriate place in his hand and pressed the cards against his chest to conceal them from view. Suddenly, one of the children tossed his cards back onto the floor in the middle of the circle.

“I’m not playing!” he announced. “That’s the third time in a row I was dealt bad cards.”

“Come on,” Dov said, “we’re having fun. I didn’t do it on purpose. Those are the cards you were dealt. My hand is not so good, either, but I’m not quitting!”

“I expected to have fun, and playing with bad cards is no fun at all. I quit,” the complainer insisted.

The child’s expectations weren’t met and so he decided to exit the game. That’s easy in a child’s game, but in the game of life the consequences of despair are much more serious.

Everyone “expects” that s/he was created to be happy. That is, in fact, true. However, what makes one happy varies from person to person. When dreams are not fulfilled, many become unhappy.  Life is full of bumps in the road and difficulties are to be expected. Sometimes the jolts are very serious and life-changing, but one is expected to absorb the blows, recover and go on. The tests of life are meant to stimulate spiritual growth, not despair. Accept difficulties as a spiritual workout to build spiritual muscle.

When you are dealt bad cards, play with the cards you have. In the game of life, quitting is not an option.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

I have always maintained that history has the final vote in human events. By that I mean that all certainties of life are subject to the final editing process of history and events. One can never be certain while it is raining whether to sing or weep. Only much later, again in retrospect and in the perfect vision of hindsight, do our choices and answers appear in clarity. (Rabbi Berel Wein, Buy Green Bananas, p. 137)