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Chutes and Ladders -- Extreme Edition

Chutes and Ladders -- Extreme Edition

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Published by Thom Hunter
"I don't want to play anymore."
"I don't want to play anymore."

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Published by: Thom Hunter on May 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Chutes and Ladders: ExtremeEdition
"I don't want to play anymore."I remember when my grandchildren used to come to thehouse. In warmer weather they wanted to be outside to pickthe garden of still-green fruit or pluck the flowers or maybe justpick up rocks. Wandering around the yard like little ducks,stopping here and there to point and stare at wondrous thingsso often overlooked by the rest of us on our way tosomewhere. Little ones are just . . . there. Where they are isthe somewhere that matters.On colder days, my grandchildren would dash down the halland head for the toy room, a place that still held the baby bedin which all five of our children had slept and in which some of 
our grandchildren had risen from their own naps to stand andpoint at games and dolls and briefly-wanted things beyondtheir reach. Help was always on the way."Anyone want to play?"And, if not answered quickly enough and affirmatively enough?"Play with me."And two little hands would hold a box and look above it togauge the expression of the bigger one who is being roped inand will soon sit creaked and cross-legged on the floor andunfold the board and place the plastic markers to begin thegame. With patience, toss the dice and move the player pieceswhen they reach a point on the board too distant for the littlearms to reach. Put them back in place when a tiny sneakerkicks and skews the game, sending pieces flying. Set it rightagain and go on.Patience. Someone will win. Or someone will get hungry. Ordistracted. Or called away.My grandson loved the
of chutes and ladders -- climbingand sliding -- but he also was pretty clued in on winning. Whenhe learned that the chutes (slides) would take him back wherehe'd been, he would try to skip them and head for the nextladder, falling back on the can't-count-good excuse thatsometimes works for children. Enforce the rules and a fewchutes more . . . and you see a little face slowly turn serious."I don't want to play anymore."A lot of times, no one won "Chutes and Ladders." There werealways other games to play. Or cookies.Who can blame him for wanting to win? When you think aboutit, embracing the ladders, the hard climb up, should make youa winner. Who puts those dumb chutes in the way, sending ussliding back down, starring at empty spaces . . . and more
ladders? Life gets tiring and the finish line -- the victory --seems to just slide away, so close and yet so far.During the long, long struggle to find victory over sexualaddictions -- unwanted same-sex attraction, pornography, lust,idolatry -- we long for ladders that will take us up and out tohigher places and clearer views. Who puts those dumb chutesin the way? Two steps off the ladder and your skimming down theloneliness slide. "Where did everyone go?" becomes "where issomeone?"
And there you are, searching and seeking,not where the ladders lead, but in the pits at the base of theslide where what looks like love and feels like love will do forlove for now. Yippee . . . the wind from the wild slide blowingthrough your hair as you glide into the mud at the base. Well . .. that was fun, as they say, for a season.Crawl to a ladder. Hold on, rung by rung, eyes straight ahead,resisting the impulse to slip over to the slide nearby and go foranother ride. Remember . . . those things only go down.I rarely see God as a grandfatherly being. I have alwayspictured him as benevolent, willing to reward richly those whotry and those who cry and those who need and those who wantand those who seek and those who speak . . . to Him. He's themaster of the ladder. "Know my son? Take a rung."Like me with my grandson, God occasionally just has toenforce the rules. You roll the dice and there you are standingat the edge of a chute and God says . . . go. There will be aladder down there when you land, and if you get up and climbagain, you will eventually finish this . . . game? It's not a gameat all. It's just the way. And it does take a will. Conformed toHis.What really often happens is we decide -- from wearinessor loneliness or hopelessness -- we can just change the rules . .. and all those ladder-detractors say Amen.

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Carl F Maulbeck added this note
what matters is the we get up - "...go. There will be aladder down there when you land, and if you get up and climb again, you will eventually finish this . . . game? It's not a game" - very true, thomas
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