An Untimely Backward 4


I find board games frustrating. Often I get a comfortable lead, gloat to my opponent, and with one unfortunate card I'm back in last place. Candyland is a perfect example. You pick the Queen Frostine card, and you're within striking distance of home. Plumpy shows up and you're back at the beginning.

The newer edition allows a player to ignore a card he doesn't like. In fact, Plumpy doesn't exist! I might be interested in that version, but somehow it feels like cheating.

My kids are into Sorry.

I played last week with my two youngest boys and experienced unprecedented good fortune. I found myself with a myriad of 1's and 11's and a perfectly timed backward 4. Two more cards and I found myself with all four pawns in the safety zone. I could taste victory.

All I needed was a 5 followed by a 3. Instead I drew a backward 4. What?! How could this be? If I moved four squares back I'd be vulnerable. I begged and pleaded. "Please let me go two backward. Please!" They were too savvy to bend the rules.

The next player, Colin, drew a Sorry card. I begged and pleaded again. "Pick Brandon! Please!" There was no denying the truth, however. I was Colin's biggest threat. He mercilessly chose me.

I found myself back at the beginning, and within five minutes the game was over. I finished in last place.

I didn't care, of course. Not really. Those 15 minutes were fun. Exciting. Frustrating. And funny. Most of all, they were shared. One day the three of us will laugh about our shared experience, because Sorry is just like life.

We work hard to get into the safety zone and do our best to protect ourselves from pain and sorrow. We hang on to our possessions and our loved ones.

Until some unfortunate card pulls us out of safety and forces us to see the truth about life.

The truth that all the retirement plans and insurance policies in the world can't keep us from pain and loss. Tornadoes hit, illness strikes, wealth disappears, and dreams are crushed. Sorry cards are part of living.

The good news is that there is an eternal home where safety becomes reality. A place described in the book of Revelation:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain.

Until that day comes we share, we bond, we laugh, we love, and we play with all our heart. Confident that, ultimately, the card we draw doesn't matter. Only that we keep moving forward. Even with an untimely backward 4.