Friday, July 31, 2009

Fifteen Two, Fifteen Four

A lot of people spend their lives searching for an epiphanic moment, a dramatic AHA! For me, this helps to explain why so many folks flock to religious revivals or travel great distances to sit at the foot of a guru. Too many seem to think that the answers to life's mysteries are too far away for them to grasp on their own and so they look incessantly to others to supply the elusive answers.

While there's no question that the totality of the answers we each seek are indeed elusive, the clues are all around us. We don't need to go somewhere else to find them. We simply need to meet life head on with open hearts, eyes and minds.

I've learned a great deal about life itself from playing the card game, Cribbage. (Note: If you are unfamiliar with this game, here's a link to the rules.) Not altogether unlike some aspects of poker, a major part of the game and how each hand is scored is determined by a random card (the "starter") utilized by each player.

Without question, there is a level of skill involved in this game. You need to be able to add correctly and to figure the level of probabilities of the cards held by your opponent and how the starter will impact the cards you hold and the cards you "throw away" into the crib.

But here's the lesson I've learned -- No matter how well you factor in the various probabilities, the starter can wreck what seemed to be a good hand or can make a nothing hand into a really good one. Sometimes, the starter is exactly what you were hoping for, but, as it turns out, it's also the card your opponent was hoping for and so, while you might have a better than average hand, your opponent winds up with a super hand.

And so it goes with life itself. There are times when we think through our decisions thoroughly -- correctly analyzing every tidbit of information available to us -- and then a variable we couldn't have known about or a circumstance we couldn't have foreseen in a million years -- makes a complete wreck of the situation. Conversely, there are just as many times that we make what appears to be a downright moronic decision that turns out well because of "luck" and/or unforeseen circumstances.

So, what does this tell us? For me, it reminds me that, while I need to be disciplined in all I think and do, I concurrently must understand that much of what happens to each of us in life is beyond our direct control. Making plans is not a bad thing in and of itself, but I need to be as flexible as a willow in a strong wind because we never know when the next gale will blow.

When I was younger, I used to get very frustrated when I thought I had a killer Cribbage hand and then the starter would mess things up. Today, however, I play the game and take it with a grain of salt. We never know which cards we will be dealt and how the starter will impact our play.

'Tis better to learn to go with the flow than to waste time and energy trying to control or fight against it because, in the end, the flow of life always holds the winning hand.


  1. "The Flow of Life." Interesting concept. Personally, I haven't been able to get into the flow since I left the faith. It seems as if I am unable to find real-life, like-minded people that I am interested in joining, so that I can be in the flow of life. But I am trying, really hard.

    The other day, I allowed my M-I-L to help me do dishes for the first time ever. I decided to go with the flow and it worked really well.

  2. so true. a few years ago i was obsessing over what i wanted to do with my life... of course i planned on going to college, getting a degree, moving out of state, etc... but just living life changed all that. i am certainly not where i thought i would be! i could have lived many different lives, if things had turned out differently. but of course i wouldn't change things. :)

  3. Hi R T

    I/we are really good at cribbage!! And we pretty much go with the flow of life. It takes way too much energy to do otherwise.

    I had a cribbage board made for Skipp is a real nice Indian design. I have the site if you are interested, called Wooden Images".

    Love to you and Della

  4. Lorena,
    Not everyone's flow involves lots of other people. That said, via your blog, I think you've found a virtual community of like-minded souls.

    Yes, each of our lives can go numerous ways. It's amazing how singular choices -- big AND small -- can alter our course in significant ways.

    I have numerous boards. All of 'em are very simple ones.


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