The Game of Life

If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right. — Kenny Rogers

 Around campus, the wives of summer Greek students are referred to as “Greek widows.” And after 10 weeks of my “old”, second-career husband trying to master an ancient language and reacquaint himself with the pressures of an academic setting, I definitely accepted the title. I, along with the other new wives, counted down the days until it would all be over; and when it was over, we breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated with hummus, kebabs, and a toga party. But passing summer Greek was definitely not the end of the game.


Toga party

 While we were enjoying our toga party in the backyard, two of the 4th year wives surveyed the happy merrymaking and commented quietly to me, “It doesn’t get easier, you know.” I looked at them blankly, feeling trepidation mixed with too much hummus welling up in my stomach. We were all so relieved to have Greek over with that we hadn’t even stopped to think about what the rest of the seminary experience would be like.

 We are now towards the end of Toby’s first year and have a much better understanding of the rigorous demands of an average seminary school year. And my 4th year friends were right, it doesn’t get easier. For instance, Toby now has five classes to keep up with instead of one. Today in his Worship class (which I fondly renamed: “Advanced Church Lady 601.”), he has a test. Some of the vocabulary he needs to have memorized looks more like the Greek from the summer or the prologue to Beowulf, “Chasuble alb flagon ciborium. Loft thurible stole, paten nave cassock surplice!” In no particular order, those words all happen to be nouns and are terminology for vestments, vessels, spatial names, and other items found within a (very) traditional Christian worship setting. All of which he needs to have memorized for the test today.

 As the year has flown by, my title “Greek widow” has faded into the background, and I am perversely interested in seeing how the new wives arriving in August tackle the change from layman life to seminary life. But more importantly, I am learning that in the game of life, it’s really all the same. We all have “stuff” to deal with. Whether you study theology or engineering or nothing at all, whether you teach children or spackle drywall, whether you eat ham and mashed potatoes or sushi followed by a side of miso, whether you are learning your ABC’s and potty training or you are managing a mortgage and pulling in a salary, whether you drive a Ford pickup, a Lexus, or peddle a bicycle… it’s all relatively the same.


An “okay” hand in euchre

We all have to deal with the hands we’re dealt. If we’re dealt a farmer’s hand or ace no face, we could grumble about it (mildly therapeutic, but mostly irritating to others); or on the other hand, if we have been graciously dealt a perfect loner hand, we could boast about it (however, not advisable).

But what if, instead of focusing on whether or not we have a good hand, we simply play the game – hand by hand – the best way we know how, looking up and around at the many faces playing the game right along side us, and learn to enjoy the company of those we discover along the way. Maybe that’s how we really play it right.

  A merry heart goes all the way. — Old English Proverb


Filed under Miscellaneous thoughts, Schoolwork

8 responses to “The Game of Life

  1. Great post, but …… bahahahaa… I know every single one of those words on Toby’s test. I’m pretty sure that makes me “Advanced Church Lady” qualified. Which I find to be HILARIOUS! Thank you so much for that laugh today.

  2. Ginny

    Hey Rachel, your blogs are always so helpful. Thanks for reminding me that we all have to do the best we can dealing with the hand we’ve been dealt at the moment. And who knows what the next hand will look like; it could be that loner! Praying I am growing in loving well and being thankful while playing all my hands in this game of life with both my partners and my opponents.
    BTW what is a farmer’s hand???

    • I figure I’ll be learning this lesson for another 40 years! BTW – And a farmer’s hand is when (in euchre) you are dealt only 9s and 10s, no aces or faces. It’s the worst hand to be dealt.

  3. just dad

    I know i am “just a layman”, but the vocab words were entirely logical when they were first used, since the people knew and spoke Greek. Seems that now we ought to call the poricope the lessons for the day, the paten a little plate, and the cassock and chausible the preachers dress……. just sayin’

  4. Rachel Kreyling Kinsler

    Rachel I absolutely love this post. So true. We all have he hand we are dealt and we can choose how we deal with that hand and how we approach the life that we have. Wonderful!

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