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.