Reflections on a Board Game

Anne and I have played Scrabble regularly for years. We like the mind exercise involved in forming words to fit on the board in often difficult places. Recently we bought a new board game called Wingspan, which I had read about online. It was a bit complicated to learn, but now we love it. Players create small bird sanctuaries on their individual boards, using bird cards, bonus cards, food and egg representations, and colorful markers and dice. In the course of four rounds of play, each player fills their habitats, and points accumulated from various plays and cards determine the winner. Overall, we are fairly evenly matched, with Anne usually winning more frequently at Scrabble and me winning more often at Wingspan. Occasionally we tie!

So, board games are fun, right? Relaxing as well as stimulating to the mind. But could they also be seen as a reflection of life, something we could learn from? This way of looking at them occurred to me recently when I was repeatedly losing every Scrabble game. It seemed that I was always drawing letters that did not make words—all vowels or all consonants. Meanwhile, Anne was sailing along forming five- to seven-letter words, often with triple scores. After the sixth or seventh game like this, I began to feel frustrated and angry, as if it was more than just bad luck. When I then lost a Wingspan game in similar fashion, it seemed like the last straw: God was literally “stacking the cards against me”!

As soon as that thought passed through my mind, something clicked, and I realized that each game was a reflection of life, and together they were demonstrating to me a spiritual teaching that I thought I already knew by heart: Accept what is. If you resist whatever is occurring, you will be angry and upset. In a board game and in life. And so it is. Spirit has such imaginative and humorous ways of showing us life’s truths and exactly how they work. As long as I continued to be annoyed at the way a game was unfolding, I would be unhappy—and furious that I couldn’t control the outcome. So it is with life. Accept whatever comes up, and you will feel peaceful. Resist, and you will grumble and complain throughout your days on Earth.

When I came to see that Spirit and my soul were playfully reminding me of this deep truth and that it applied everywhere all the time, I smiled—and then laughed out loud. Life flows if you allow it to be exactly as it is. Board games do too. The secret is seeing them that way. Who knew that Scrabble was hiding spiritual wisdom in all those letters?!

P.S. The evening after I had this insight, I won the Scrabble game (not that it matters… ha!)

4 thoughts on “Reflections on a Board Game

  1. Stroke of luck. Go with the flow. Burst of insight. The way the cookie crumbles. Play with the cards you’re dealt. So many analogies with life itself! Each game is a moment in time. Play and move on!

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