As an African American man living in the United States of America, seemingly, the game of chess is a requirement for survival. Never show your emotions, never show fear, and most importantly, NEVER let anyone know what you are really thinking. Needless to say, I have clearly broken all three of those rules. In fact, I am guilty of violating those rules on almost a daily basis. Chess. You see, chess is a game of skill, intellect, decisiveness, and, to some degree, ruthlessness. I am quite skilled at playing chess. However, at this point in my life, I desire to play checkers. I would love to sit across the board from someone who, while enjoying our game, also enjoys our conversation. In fact, I would hope that they enjoy the conversation more than the game. Checkers is fun. It’s simple, engaging, and passionate. To me, as we take a break from the chess game of life, love is a beautiful game of checkers. I have never believed that love is, or should be, complex. There should be no strategy in the game of love. I firmly believe that two people should be able to sit, stand, kneel, or lay beside one another and be the very best and worst version of themselves without fear of their lover or counterpart leaving or turning their backs on them. Love should draw you in, not push you further away. Love should enlighten, not discourage. Love should warm the cold heart and settle the nervous soul. Notice the world “should.” Today, in some instances, it seems that love has become something else. The very word love is rarely spoke with authenticity and deeper meaning. It seems that it’s thrown around without a solid understanding of what love really means. Love is the answer and the question. It is the beginning and the end. Simply put, life truly begins when you find it, and it seems to end when love is no longer there. Love will make a cloudy day wonderful and a dark night sleepless. It can make someone poor feel as though they are rich. It is the only answer to every possible quandary that one can experience during this thing called life. Love is the only answer. Recently, someone asked me why I am always speaking about love. I explained to them that love is something is the very thing that will not only be a reminder that we were here on earth, it is also the very reason why we are here on earth. I firmly believe that the human soul spends it’s entire existence searching for it’s own reflection in another. Once found, life is never the same. Without it, life is the same cold, mundane, and predictable existence experienced on a daily basis. Love is the answer. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is forgiving. Love sometimes needs forgiveness. Love builds across broken hearts. Love mends. Love restores. Love gives. Love takes. Love listens. Love speaks. Love dances. Love stands still. Love waits. Love propels. Love encourages. Love offers refuge. Love is light. Love is never violent, deceitful, condemning, undermining, or belittling. Love is God and God is love. If you have someone in your life that you truly love, please hold on to them. The truth of the matter is that true love may never come again. I realize that some people spend years playing chess with their partners. Perhaps they are desperately trying to hold on to something that they clearly understand isn’t for them. I get it; loneliness is hard. However, if you find yourself working overtime while it seems that your partner or lover hasn’t even clocked in, perhaps you haven’t found love. Perhaps, you are taking a prep course for the real thing. Whatever the case may be, never give up on love, for giving up on love is essentially giving up on life. When you finally find someone that you are comfortable playing checkers with, first of all, be thankful. Secondly, enjoy every second of the game because tomorrow may never come. If it doesn’t, may your love remain perfectly intact as a reminder that there is still hope for all of us. Until next time. Patrick
As always, this week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better. Also, if you are fortunate enough to make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.