By: Sandy Churchill
Upon returning from a recent game conference in Columbus, Ohio, our family was encouraged and recharged from life’s stresses—thanks to three and a half days of games, games, and more games. These are not video games—nor are they the simple-stream variety of Monopoly, Checkers, or Candyland. They are European-style board games of strategy—some competitive, some collaborative—where a ten-year-old can play a 70-something opponent and delve into the fun and challenge of brain-teasing entertainment.
Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Ascension, Settlers of Catan, Splendor, and other games topped the “Board Room” tables, while Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Dungeons & Dragons filled the schedule of events and tournaments. Inventors showcased beta models of their latest game ideas, and authors conducted workshops and signed books.
But amid all of the chaos of wandering the show floor, glimpsing jeweled dice and painting miniature game figures, the best moment of the show weekend happened the last night we attended. A gentleman in the Rio Grande (game company) room who had shown us several games over the past couple days was on his way out of the conference center when he bumped into us near midnight. We thanked him for his hospitality and the fantastic weekend of learning games, meeting travelers from all over the country, and engaging in wonderful strategy, as we mastered the latest versions of some family favorites. During the conversation, he halted us with a blunt question; he asked us if we were Christians. We responded yes, we were, but asked how he knew. Aside from my husband’s spiritually themed t-shirts, he said he could tell by how we treated each other. Stunned, we were touched by his directness and observation. The conversation turned to society today, the tough election news blasting the airways, and the lack of family time in an often stressed-out culture with little direction or focus. He commented that in this difficult society, we can only do the best we can, spend time with our families, raise children and grandchildren, and play some games along the way.
His philosophy of living the best lives we can, trying to be good people, and putting our efforts into raising good families was his simple way of reminding me to not to worry too much about circumstances beyond our control. Essentially, “have faith” was the message. This was a needed reminder that living in the moment is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it necessarily a shallow thing. Living in the moment, focusing on your loved ones, and embracing today can be the best antidote to anxiety and callousness in the world in which we reside. And the fun in the message? We cultivate gratitude with those we love, and play a few games along the way.