Chess, anyone?

People who live on this particular barrier island in Florida call it a little piece of Paradise. And yet, as everywhere, it has its challenges. This season I’ve been troubled as I’ve watched the falling out of two best friends. As the season wore on, their interpersonal difficulties affected others as we would notice their avoiding each other, and unfortunately, talking about each other to those around them. As some of us were being drawn into the drama, and as one of them now is facing life threatening illness, I wondered if I could help. So I tried to aid their reconciliation by urging them to try to talk it out. Perhaps some of the misunderstandings were clarified as we processed hurt feelings together, yet there is a long way to go.

I’m glad I tried. I hope it helped. They’ll have time to cool off as they won’t be back to this area until next winter. They are both strong believers in Yeshua. I’m hoping they’ll be able to remember the power of love, His power of love. I hope the recurrent cancer will not thwart these hopes. I’m comforted in the power of prayer.

As we have so many ways to heal through loving, I share with you a message from several years ago, all the more relevant now:

Recently, my sister was sharing with me the story of a reconciliation that had unfolded over a number of years, each choice bringing the players in the drama closer to a place of love. A “synchronicity” had just surfaced, bringing people together now from years ago who didn’t even know each other and yet were part of a sad story that affected them and those around them. As I listened to how everything was now, years later, falling into place to create love and redemption, it was so clear that HaShem’s Hand had been in it from the beginning, just waiting for this beautiful resolution. And yet, there were a multitude of choices people made along the way that built to this day, decisions made unknowingly bringing people toward today’s result, and we could see that the story was not over. Each of the choices were ones of love and forgiveness, of good and positivity, and encouragement. A deep healing was taking place but more could come, all dependent on the decisions people will be making.

It reminded me of the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. It’s a delightful story which drives home that we, in our lives, may take an action that we don’t even know creates consequences to another, and another, and inextricably ties lives together whose stories ultimately can be resolved for the good, whether in this life or after. This resolution, however, depends on actions we take to make that happen. We make so many decisions each day and really never know if even our smallest action, or inaction, started a chain of reactions affecting another, and in turn another, and another that changed lives unknown to us, hopefully for the good. Interestingly, it is often our smallest acts of kindness and forgiveness that have the biggest impact.

I have often likened our lives to the multi-level chess game that I’ve seen on “The Big Bang Theory” which I understand is actually from “Star Trek”. If you are not familiar with it, this chess game is played multi-dimensionally with multiple boards poised 6 or so inches above each other. The moves are analyzed not just by the effect they have on the one board but as if the move were made 3-dimensionally on all of the boards. This construct is how I see our lives, with HaShem the designer of the boards and pieces and we, humans, the various players of the pieces.

In the game of chess, the pieces range from the pawn with limited ability to move and the lowest points in value to the king who interestingly can only move one space, the same as the pawn. The goal of the game is to protect the king. That’s how I look at it. Some would say the goal is to force the opponent’s king into checkmate, the inability to move. With either viewpoint the same strategy is played. The other pieces, the queen, bishop, knight, and rook, each have various move patterns with the queen being the most powerful piece. Although players strive to acquire the opponent’s higher point pieces, in fact, the lowly pawn, if played right, could win the game by putting the opponent’s king into checkmate. The game requires all the pieces on each side, regardless of their status, to work together strategically.

I see our lives like the players on those chess boards. Our Abba can see all the interconnections, orchestrating our moves but giving us multiple choices. When we make a move, a choice, it not only impacts the people we know of (on our board), but actually has a multi-dimensional effect on those we cannot see (the other boards). We find that there may be times in our lives when we have more power, like the queen, and other times not, like the pawn. Yet all of our choices have their effect on others with HaShem always having the overview. As in chess, no one piece or person has much ability to make meaningful change alone. Winning requires cooperatively working together. The game of life, as in the game of chess, presents a multitude of free will choices within a predetermined set of choices, as are the choices of moves on the gameboard. As in life, when a play is made on the chess board, it has an effect on all of the other pieces and affects their choices as well.

I have a feeling that every person’s life is somehow touching another’s, and another’s, and another’s, with an indeterminable (by us) number of touch points and ripple effects. HaShem has orchestrated the grid, the multi-dimensional game board, and sees it all. We, if we are open to it, are blessed to see some of these connections and consequences, such as my sister and I were recently allowed to experience. That’s when we feel the big “Wow”.

As we create centers of love in how we treat others, when we share the smallest of kindnesses and encouragements, we touch others and start interactions multi-dimensionally to move others toward loving choices. Perhaps the king in chess moves so limitedly since he relies on his subjects to do his work, much as we are HaShem’s hands on earth to share His love. Or perhaps the king moves only one space, the same as the simple pawn, for he, like Yeshua, has walked in those simple shoes. The goal of saving our side’s king is not unlike our wanting to be with our King someday, fighting against any opposing forces and supporting no other king but Him.

I encourage you to take comfort in knowing our Abba is in control, encouraging you each day to live loving others. For simple acts of kindness are the most powerful force in the universe with consequences we cannot possibly comprehend.

Shabbat shalom.

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