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October 22, 2020

Life Is a Game


I don’t remember being a baby and playing games with my mother, but I can imagine it. Her face and the sound of her voice were part of me, and then, suddenly, her face disappeared and she was quiet. I was scared. Then her laughing voice—peek-a-boo!—and her face again. The turmoil in my tummy calmed down and after many such games, it was replaced with the certainty that she would always be there.

I grew up in a neighborhood with kids bulging out of every house. In the evenings during warm weather we played in the street, usually hide and seek or kick the can. Finding the most concealed place to hide was the challenge. The reward was when I couldn’t be found or those times when I was “it,” and I could find everyone. Whether hiding or seeking, I was in charge, thinking through my strategy, acting on it.

Adolescence hit me like a ton of bricks. My parochial high school environment became rigid and demanded absolute compliance. The ego in me rebelled and I experienced some harsh consequences. I was led to believe that “disobedience” would result in the Creator abandoning me until I again became a good girl. I prayed to Him, but I couldn’t find Him. So I abandoned Him. What had happened to that loving God I had been taught about?

Higher education took me through a winding path toward what I then held as my life goal: becoming a practicing professional. But I was very unsettled. Life went on, feeling humdrum and without purpose. I no longer had a goal toward which to yearn. Out of habit, when life dealt me hard blows, I prayed to this God I had rejected, but He was still absent.

So I went in search of Him. I hunted Him in various religions, teachings, gurus, books, seminars. I was “it,” but He remained well-hidden. I caught glimpses of Him during this time, but He would again quickly disappear. This was no longer  hide-and-seek or kick-the-can. It was a serious game and I didn’t know the rules.

It turns out though that the Creator was there all the time, preparing me. Who knew that peek-a-boo, hide and seek, testing boundaries, experiencing the consequences and learning to play well with others would be preparation for the rest of my life?

Because… BAM! Seemingly out of nowhere Kabbalah entered my life. Just like that. Freely given, immediately elating, then confusing, often exasperating, always intriguing, and forever inside me. And I started all over.

The Creator hid so I would have to seek. He taught me that Nature is a magnificent system of cause and effect. He lured me with the promises of the ancient wisdom, into yearning for an exalted goal. And then He gave me the environment and the other points in the heart so I could practice what I was learning and continually deal with His annoying disappearing acts.

And not only that, he made finding Him hard. He’s good at finding hiding places and just when I think I’ve found him, Hhe evaporates again. I begin to feel Him though, and because it’s such a sublime feeling, I continue to seek. And that, my friends, is the real game.

That ego that had battered me for decades? I found out that this wily Creator gave it to me so that I could tame it and then use it for my journey back toward Him.

And best of all, He prepared me by putting me exactly where I’ve needed to be in this magnificent universe so I could learn the skills and develop the qualities I need so that I can finally find Him. He sure knows how to play the game, that Creator, and He continually invents more challenges, sort of like in a video game. And most important of all, He gave me friends on the path, all of them having been prepared, uniquely for each one, by Him, as was I.

The great sage Rav Yehudah Ashlag, Baal HaSulam, tells us: “The Creator truly resides within the heart of every person of Israel, and that is from His side. Hence, what does one lack? Only to know that. And the knowledge changes, and the knowing completes.“

By Mary Miesem



  Willie wrote @ November 18th, 2016 at 7:24 am

Thanks for writing such a beautiful article on this topic.

  Frederick Kroesen wrote @ November 15th, 2016 at 11:49 am

Thank you for such a lovely and touching essay of your inner quests that so closely mirror many of us.

  Jay Delga wrote @ November 14th, 2016 at 4:45 pm

An amazing story. I can relate to so much of what you have shared. Thank you for sharing.

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