Checkmate

My 10-year old daughter and 12-year old son are sitting at the table behind me, playing a game of chess.  They are surprisingly strategic, and actually more likely to get through a game of chess without coming to blows than they would a game of Monopoly.  I try to pretend that I’m interested in their game, but to be perfectly honest, I’m too dumb for chess.  I can’t keep up with each piece and their various abilities.  So I sit by and occasionally throw out a “Good move, honey!” or “ooooh, you really got him there……”.

I can hear my son’s running commentary on the moves of his Queen.  He has had his sister’s King in “check” half a dozen times since they started, but she always manages to wiggle out of her predicament.  I’m fascinated by the way the Queen is the only piece allowed to move wherever she wants, as near or as far, backward or forward.  Yet as crafty as she is, she is often captured (at least the way my kids play).

Sometimes I feel like I have a lot in common with the Queen.  I can go anywhere, do anything, at whatever pace I like.  I can be powerful.  I have the widest range of abilities of any piece.  I can even survive (although barely…..) without my knight in shining armor on the board with me.  But I can be taken out of the game pretty easily if I’m not careful.  All I have to do is let down my guard and I’m a goner.  It’s flattering that the captured Queen is the first piece taken back when the pawn reaches the other side of the board, although that doesn’t happen very often.

But the Queen is feared.  I don’t want to be feared.  I want to be liked, plain and simple.  And nobody likes the Queen.  She’s conceived as manipulative and crafty, only interested in winning.  And that’s just not me.  It used to be me.  My life used to be about trying to get away with one trick or another, trying to think ahead and manipulate the actions of those around me.  But that’s not fun any more.  It’s hurtful.  And I don’t want to be that person.

I don’t want to be a pawn, either.  I don’t want to be the one taken advantage of, disposable and the always first piece sacrificed during play.   However, the pawn doesn’t ever move backward, only forward.  And in that regard, maybe being the pawn isn’t so bad.  I’ve spent the last year trying to move forward, instead of dwelling in the past and continually looking backward.

There has to be a happy medium in the game of life.  And I intend to find it.  I’m moving my piece forward, little by little, day by day.  I wish I could look into the future to see if I end up a winner.  But for now, I need to be content just moving my piece one space at a time, never backward, always forward.

Checkmate.