The game of Life

We put an old rug down in the kitchen and Fred was the first to enjoy it

Jack and I saw a house on-line (in Middlebury) yesterday, so we decided to take a ride up and do a drive-by. Everything about it: age (it was built in 1798), location, and neighborhood, felt perfect. Driving around the block several times (very slowly) I noticed someone moving inside and thought that they might be excited too (thinking that a potential buyer was outside).

As we were headed home again, the image of the childhood game, Duck, Duck, Goose, came to mind. I loved that game. We all sat on little chairs in a circle and waited while one kid walked around the outside of the circle, touching each kid’s head as they walked by, saying mostly “duck” …but when he/she said “GOOSE” you were supposed to jump up as quickly as possible and chase the kid before they reached your seat. If you caught them then you got to sit back down again and they continued to be the tagger.

It was fun sitting, waiting, and not knowing when you were going to hear the word “GOOSE!’ and it was fun watching your friends running around the circle being chased, and it was fun being the chaser.

There is a time to sit and wait but when I remember that I’m still “in the game” (even when I’m not apparently moving); when I can enjoy watching the other players, some who are sitting too, but others who are running, and I can clap and cheer for them, then life feels whole. The element of variety and suspense is what makes games fun…. and the same thing can apply to my life, if I choose to look at it in a new way.

Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it. Sai Baba

18 thoughts on “The game of Life”

  1. Your Duck, duck, goose….reminded me of another childhood song I like to apply to my life now, “row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily , merrily, merrily, life is but a dream” . Are you moving??? XXO

  2. Yes, life is a game. But I learned a different and very painful lesson from games where other children pick the next players. I was never picked – not in any game ever, and it was not fun. Yes, I was in the game, but it wasn’t the same game you were playing. I was extremely shy and raised by a grandmother who did not encourage friendships. I had none, and never even learned to laugh until I was 16 and away from home for the first time. Now my life is filled with joy – I did and do now, play the game of life well, but when I was a child, those games were agony – the agony of not being able to get outside of myself and think of others – the agony of not having anyone who wanted to pick me. I had not yet learned how to be happy. I know I am not alone. I suspect you may have a lot of replies here.

    WOW! Where did this come from?

    Thanks Mary. Here you are, having coffee with me.

    1. Dear headingoutside,

      Thank you for sharing your story here. I don’t even know you but I am inspired by you. You have not only outrun the shyness and pain of your childhood to live a happy life, but you’ve brought with you the recognition of what that shyness can do to people who suffer from it. And in so doing, you carry a degree of compassion that will always shine forth when and where it’s most needed.

      Good job!

      1. Suzanne, I can’t think of anything to top your compassionate reply to headingoutside. You’ve got friends here, headingoutside, and we thank you for the courage it took to tell your story. Across the miles, ‘tag! you’re it, honey!’ You’re something special, for sure. .

  3. I have seen my handicapped son got through the same thing as above, but I always see him being so kind to others, he has learned to play the game of life better than most, I think,

  4. I remember “Duck, Duck, Goose” and the thrill of anticipation as each of us waited to be tagged “goose!”. I love your perspective, Mary…..of there being a time to wait and a time to act and the joy of accepting it all. Thanks for the memories and thanks for the fresh perspective.

  5. O how our childhoods shape us! As a chubby four-eyer, I had to use my wits and budding sense of humor to be even on the edge of acceptance, but I was also bright and at the top of the class in the academic arena. Seems like a lifelong pattern. What brings all those tough lessons from which we learn strength, compassion and love? How does it shape us now, and daily?

    I love the image that now in mortal life we can see the underside of the rug–with knots and dangles and what not, but when we pass over, hopefully we can then see the beautiful pattern on the top of the rug–Ah ha ha!

    1. Kathi -you sure brought back a memory – being ‘chubby’ – in fact in the late 50’s, early 60’s when I was a kid, they actually had a girls’ dress size called “Chubette”, I kid you not! I have a darling little dog, a ‘chubby’ female shepherd mix. She’s the funniest shape – very short legs, but sort of a full sized (aka chubby!) body and a small head. Her name is Lucky, but I often call her “Chubba-Lubba-Lu” – thanks for the smiles!

    2. Kathi, what a wonderful attitude you had as a child to grow up to be an adult. You must have been given confidence somewhere along the line. Our childhoods do shape us. I’ve seen it in children of divorce, particularly and it is far more prevalent today than in my childhood years. Your intelligence has carried you far,
      SandyP in Canada

  6. Happy ‘Upcoming’ or ‘Belated’ Birthday Mary, wasn’t sure which day this week is your special day, but here’s sending you warm wishes ……. Hope you enjoy(ed) your day. Your blog really means a lot to me and I look forward to reading it daily, so thank you for offering this to us; Tomorrow’s my birthday (uggh — another year older, but always another year to the wiser, lol); maybe we share that in common. Be well.

  7. I had a very sad and lonely childhood. I can identify with you all. Today I am so happy with my life and have such gifts to be grateful for! I finally became the goose!

  8. Just got back in to read all the comments. How lovely to have such loving responses. Thank you all! And Cindy…I’ll share all the compassion with you. I often think my happiness now is because it is in stark relief to the earlier lack. Wouldn’t it be fun to play duck duck goose now, with all the others who never got to fully enjoy it in childhood?

  9. Mary…listen to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Another Home. It is from her newest work Ashes and Roses. This song fits perfectly with your waiting for another home.

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