Desktop Solitaire can be many things… a small pleasure, an innocent pastime, or self-entertainment. But this game can also be a thief of time, and productivity. Today, while struggling with procrastination, I had a burst of enlightenment – an ‘Aha!’ moment. I wondered… Can we profit from lessons with digital Solitaire? I did.
That little computer file invites distraction from chores we’d rather avoid, and from boredom, or lonely and anxious thoughts. Mine shows up as a sort of four-leafed-clover display of Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs and Spades – innocently sitting in my tool bar at the bottom of the screen. It’s a master of seduction, awarding millions of dollars in token prizes.
But, what can the game’s real profit be? I’m glad you asked …
My Solitaire program offers a menu of many styles of the game. Within each type of game I can choose a solvable version – or play with no guarantee. I always choose a ‘solvable’ option. (1) Although I don’t always find it, the guarantee of a possible solution challenges me not to give up too quickly.
I am granted unlimited attempts within each game. That means; It’s never really ‘Game Over’ as long as I remain engaged. (2)
If I’m unsuccessful, or if the game feels too hard – I can always leave it, and start something different. (3)
There is always more than one strategy for solving a game. (4) I have tried playing every card against the others in the play-line – before drawing, and attempting to play cards from the hidden resource deck.
I learned; I have the power of choice over my play actions – I am not bound to engage, or to play in a particular order. (5
I can scan the deck without playing (one or more) cards in a turn. I’m allowed to search through hidden resources (in the deck), to learn of challenges coming up. (6)
From the deck, I could select and play all exposed Aces first. Or, I could go to the play-line of cards that have been dealt, and systematically apply cards from the hidden deck – before trying to play these cards against each other. I choose the order of play and the resource that I plan to use for each step of the game. (7)
After placing cards into ‘safe’ score stacks, I can un-do the move. I can even pull as many cards as I need out of retirement (those already scored), and move them back down into active play (8)
Once a card in the active play line is covered (hidden beneath a new card), it cannot be used unless it is ‘freed’ in later plays. (9)
For this article I’m using a word-count and story-arc to limit the focus and length. I will stop my analysis here. Limits on the game can be set using either money or time. (10) Many of us use the same measures in life. There are better measures available to us.
This game analogy illustrates ten points which can profit me in much more than my Solitaire (or solitary) experience.
- I recognize that without my faith – life itself is unsolvable. Our Lord’s invitation is the only way to guarantee that we need not be permanently defeated.
- I can seek re-starts within any activity (or calling). It’s never really ‘Game Over’ as long as I remain engaged. (His mercies are new every morning)
- If I have given up, or walked away – I can turn around and start something new and different. Short of death (my own, or my computer’s) I have not yet discovered a limit to this choice.
- There is always more than one path to solution of a game, and we can choose to explore options on our own – or we can select ‘Play’ and let the program’s Game Master reveal possibilities for us. We can also let the Master reveal possibilities to us.
- I have the power of choice – Just because something comes up in the shuffle, I am not bound to engage it. It’s been said that life is really about only 10% what happens to us … and 90% about our responses. I cannot control what’s coming my way. I can choose my response. It’s a good reminder.
- I’m allowed to search through hidden resources, and to observe until I can learn more about challenges to expect. (We are urged to keep God’s word, hidden in our hearts, and we are free to search His word in scripture resources to find wisdom about what is to come, and how we might best prepare.)
- I choose the order of play, and the resource that I plan to use for each step of the game. I can choose to check my resources before playing any card – or jump right into action with the resource deck still hidden. I can go for the highest cards first – or take them as they come. I have ‘free will’.
- I can un-do a move, and I can even pull cards out of retirement and move them back down into active play – if I need them.
- Once a card in the active play line is covered (hidden beneath a new card), it cannot be used unless and until it is ‘freed’. Even if we have buried options in our game – we may find future opportunities to break free. (Poor choices can be repented of and reversed. In my life, as a believer, I know how to access this redemption).
- Limits to the game can be set using either money or time. If we do cost/benefit analysis we may realize we have gained all we can from a particular game. If so, we can cash out, and begin something new.
I am a simple person – and have asked God to use simple things to guide me. I always profit … and I’m often surprised by what He uses!
My enjoyment of ‘re-start ability’ in this game – served to remind me of some profound and joyous truth, which applies to all the times of our lives (both silly and serious):
“This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations3:21-23 NKJV
Today, as I faced my daily writing exercise, and found myself struggling to resist the lure of the game, I had no idea that I would discover these ten treasures, or that God would use my shallow pastime to reveal a deep vein of His Grace.
I hope you enjoyed this romp. I hope, also, that our eyes will be open to discover profit and enjoyment even in the lowliest, most mundane things of daily life, as we engage with God in all we do.
Blessings, Love and Laughter to you!
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