Thursday, June 26, 2008

End Game

Bernadette Adora

I do not pretend to know the strategies that make up the game of chess; I’m far too right-side-of-the-brain to care much about it all. But, I comprehend the basic rules of the game and follow instructions fairly well, so years ago I took a little time to learn the game of chess, and play a little on the computer. It’s far easier that way since I’m a person, who remains stuck at the beginner’s level with absolutely no interest in progressing further – at least not in virtual-time.

To be honest, my interest in the game of chess is more visual if not tactile; I like the game of chess as a thing of beauty that can bring together the sense of sight, touch, and smell. The feel of natural stone or wooden pieces carved and rubbed smooth with edges rounded, sitting atop a sleek board – this is what pleases me the most. I like to describe it as the game of chess in relative-time.

For one who has reduced the game of chess to an easy and simple pleasure, it came as a surprise to me more than anyone when I learned that I play the game of chess each and everyday in earnest. There are days, sometimes weeks that I play several games simultaneously only to arrive at the end game with the board overturned and pieces flying in righteous indignation. I call this the game of chess in real-time.

There is a fellow, who I work with; he helps me, I help him, and together we try and help everyone else make sense of the world when it starts going sideways rather than straight ahead. Recently, he told me that most men just muddle through when it comes to their relationships with women. And I was just being told this! Later, I thought about what he said and wondered if I had stumbled onto this information years sooner would I have had less expectations, more patience, better ------ not! Let me stop myself right here. I already have a huge problem with seeing the potential in nearly every person I meet rather than seeing the “deal.” Not unlike that old school (no pun intended), special ed teacher I’ve admired, I see good and talented souls, who, with a little hard work and a whole lotta love, can be all that they hope to be, if not more. That part is important, please don’t gloss over: “if not more.” However, and this is a big, HOWEVER, I’ve recently come to understand that each and everyone of us is simply muddling through.

Right-side or left-side, the game of chess is a real-life phenomenon in real-time for too many of us. New thought thinkers point to ego, point to fear, point to illusion, point and then point some more as I, along with others, continue with the game of chess. All the while, promising to disengage only to engage again.

At this stage of my life, I have gotten tired of playing the game of chess in real-time, particulary with those of the opposite sex. I am bone weary of the end game and all my misplaced stuff that comes along with it. I just want to cease muddling through, turn a beautifully carved piece gently over on its side, take a few deep breaths, gaze at the man sitting across from me, and recognize him not as an opponent but rather as an extension of my weary boned self -- smile truly, reach over, and gently touch his hand and lovingly suggest that he and I remain present. I want to hear, as we stand up together and move away from the board, about his joys and no more about his sorrows; I want to hear about his hopes and no more about his fears; I want to hear about his today and no more about his yesterdays, and then I want to be invited and welcomed to share the same. I want to be able to savor each instance of sitting still, of standing, of moving along side he, who I now recognize as being a part of me, who together transforms momentarily into a “we.” In my imagining, the end game is just that – an end to the game now transformed into a myriad of new beginnings, new possibilities that flow together moment to moment --- yes, even in real-time.

Bernadette Adora