My little boy and I played a few games of Candy Land the other day. He won the first game but then became a little downhearted during the second game because he thought I was going to win. “I just know you’re going to win,” he said as he counted the spaces between my blue guy and his red guy. I have to admit, my blue guy was pretty far ahead; it did not look good for little red guy. But, if you’ve ever played Candy Land before, you know it’s not over ‘till it’s over. “Oh, don’t give up buddy,” I told my son. “There’s a lot that could happen. You could get a few double spaces or even draw the fairy princess card.” Certain cards can let you skip ahead great distances, and, sure enough, he drew the fairy princess card and ended up winning the game. My son was happy, and we continued playing several more rounds.
A little while later, I was thinking about the game and how my son had felt winning was hopeless only to come back and win in the end. I realized the game of life is just like that, except winning doesn’t always come so quickly and easily. Sometimes, we have to deal with the hopelessness for much longer periods of time. This whole year has yielded an onslaught of hopelessness for many people, including my family, my friends and just about everyone else I know.
I was thinking about the game I played with my son as I recalled everything that has been lost this past year. My best friend finally earned her Master’s Degree only to remain stuck in a job that has no future. My husband’s best friend and his family lost their home and moved to Georgia in hopes of better prospects. Another friend moved to California for work. The last remaining friend just moved about an hour away because he lost his home after his wife lost her job. A family member lost his home and business and is now searching out of state for work. I could go on and on; I don’t know of a single soul that hasn’t been affected by the downturn in our economy.
Life could seem hopeless. None of us seem to be getting dealt a fair hand. A college degree doesn’t always result in a great paycheck anymore. Just because you pay your house payment on time and in full for seventeen years does not imply your bank will be willing to work with you during difficult times. Just because a company has crossed back into the black does not necessarily mean anything for the employees. Life can be frustratingly hopeless, if we allow it to be. It could be easy to just give up and accept that things will not get better and that we will never see the light of day again, but giving up does nothing for us. Giving up only deprives us of hope; only we have the power to take that away from ourselves. We can’t give up something so precious, especially after losing so much.
The thoughts I’m expressing here are deeply heartfelt, I assure you. My own family has not come out of this unscathed. My husband, son and I will be forced to leave our home sometime this coming year. Am I afraid? Yes. Do I feel hopeless? Sometimes. If you can believe it, I’m not a patient person when it comes to not knowing what lies ahead. Not knowing what the future holds can be frightening. Uncertainty is a formidable foe. But, there is hope. Just as in Candy Land, there’s still a lot that could happen. There may not be a fairy princess card in my deck, but my heart tells me not to give up. I have to hold onto hope that everything will be okay. I want what’s best for my family. I want to be in a good place with a good school. I want my husband’s pay and benefits to be returned. I know I’m asking for a great deal. I don’t know if I’ll get everything on my wish list, but I have written it, and I will continue to hope.
I’ve shared this because I know so many of you are in the same boat, and I pray that you will hold onto your hope. If we can find hope in something simple as a game of Candy Land, I believe that intrinsic hope can create a break in the clouds. The sun will finally shine through this dark sky with a new, more powerful hope and a new future on the horizon.
Wishing you and yours hope and blessings this holiday season,
Photo by Caucas
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