|"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,|
and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Yeah, it's a break-up song but that is not the point. The point is that solitaire is a game played by one. It's a game my father loved to play in the evening after dinner but he wasn't lonely. It was just his way of unwinding after a long day at work.
I remember watching him deal out the cards. I think they had a simple red pattern on the back. They certainly weren't like the decks I've collected over the years with pictures of places I've been. I watched Daddy put the Aces up in the top row when he found one and keep flipping and turning cards moving some on top of others.
He dealt three at a time playing the top card or moving on. Unlike games played with two or more players there is nothing discarded in Solitaire. The hope is that all cards will eventually be played with a king on top of each of the 4 piles started with a singular ace. But sometimes the cards you need stay hidden and the game is lost.
I've played plenty of solitaire in my time both with decks of cards that still have fingerprints of my family on them and on the computer. There's a line in Laura Branigan's song about the guy leaving her alone to play solitaire but the truth is, Solitaire was a game of my choosing. Whether playing with vacation souvenirs or a mouse I dealt the cards. I chose which ones to play.
And sometimes I cheated.
When things weren't going my way I'd look through the deck to get the card I needed. If I saw it I'd do some creative shuffling so it'd come up the next time through. I can't do that on the computer but there is an un-do button. If I have a choice between two cards to move in the playing field and my first choice doesn't work out, I can take it back and hope the other choice is better.
In the last year I've played a lot of Solitaire both physically and spiritually. It is a game of my choosing. Or is it? From April of last year until about February of this year, I wasn't really myself. Something or someone had a hold of me that drove me to isolation right when I needed to be seeking others out.
I played Solitaire and it cheated me.
In the last couple of months I've caught myself saying, "I'm back." People around me don't really get my meaning because to them I've never left. But I knew Lisa was gone, damaged physically and spiritually by playing a game dealt by the deceiver. I was powerless to cheat and make the game go my way.
I was powerless until the day I threw the deck of cards at the foot of the cross. Yes, I lost almost a year of interacting in a positive way with my family. My health suffered from too much idle sitting. I ruined a friendship. But today is a new day.
I've come to Him weary and heavy laden and been given rest. That rest has renewed me physically and spiritually. I can look back and know that I am forgiven for my doubt---for the times I cried out, "Where were You when I played Solitaire?" I can look forward with renewed determination to remain faithful, not letting anything or anyone else choose how I shall live except for my King.
He'll never leave me or forsake me and together we shall cheat the deceiver's games.