The Hand You’re Dealt

November 20th, 2013 § 2 Comments

The last thing my Father taught me was this: “You gotta play the hand your dealt.” Neither one of us knew he was teaching me this valuable lesson. But as I’m going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, I harken back to my Father’s last, great life experience – his death.

Somewhere back there in post war South Korea, my Father contracted hepatitis. He probably didn’t know he had it. At forty-six years of age, he collapsed on a golf course. The initial diagnosis was kidney stones. I still remember the light-hearted, pre-surgery visit at the Queen of Angels hospital. The next day with him half conscious, writhing in pain, the surgeon delivered the news. Liver cancer. After two years of a mostly uphill fight, my Father succumbed to the disease. He was forty-eight years old.

He wasn’t planning on dying. My parents had just bought their first home in America. And coupled it with a brand new, brown Cadillac Sedan de Ville. Business was booming in the little sandwich shop they’d purchased in a subterranean shopping center in Downtown LA. Straight off a plane to the American dream in five short years. And then the sky caved in … nothing could be done about it. It was the hand that was dealt.

As much as we’d like to believe that we can affect the Dealer’s turn of the card, we can’t. Once the hand is dealt, within the confines of the cards dealt, we play. But before we can play that hand well, we have to accept it. Throwing it in in disgust isn’t going to help. Wishing ain’t helping either. No, we must accept. I’m not talking resignation. Not saying, “Fold ’em.” I’m saying without accepting, we’ll not know how to go about playing our hand.

It’s a tough, seldom mastered lesson. As I grope for it, a comforting thought is that I don’t really know what the best hand is … I think I know, but I don’t really. It’s what makes me chase the elusive flush when if played well, I could take the pot with a pair of Jacks.

§ 2 Responses to The Hand You’re Dealt

  • Tobin says:

    Thanks Q. This is very good. I appreciate every post you write and hope you will keep writing them. I get most of my parenting strategies from you. Thanks for doing all the hard work for me:)

    One thing I’ve been thinking lately is that the more I hang around other people who are content with or even prefer their pair of jacks, the easier it is for me to not have to go chasing flushes all over the place to just keep losing.

    • Q says:

      Tobin, thanks man for your generous words. Appreciate you reading. I’ll try to be more consistent with the posts. Had to put it on hold for bit. Spending all my extra time working on our bathroom. We’re planning on foster parenting, and so bathroom before writing.

      I’m trying to learn to be thankful and not be run by my wants. Really hard things happen in life … to everyone. As long as my goal is getting what I want, what I think I need, as long as comforts and “things working out” are my demands for achieving happiness, I’m going to have a uneasy relationship with life. It’s strange. I thought life was about getting something, getting somewhere. Turns out, it’s not.

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