At 86, my dad is playing checkers again – after at least a 65+ year hiatus.
My sister and I have never, ever seen Dad play checkers. He was way too busy raising us – cooking, doing the yard work, fixing whatever was broken, serving at church, working as a school principal, making visitors feel oh-so-at-home when they stopped by our house.
But very recently, and quite on the fly, Dad played the game of checkers. He talked smack the whole time, as he played against a new care helper on a sunny afternoon. During their getting-to-know-you conversation, he said he remembered playing checkers as a kid. And the (clearly angelic) helper promptly ran to her car, brought in a checkerboard set and said, “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Evidently, he’s got a lot. He accepted her challenge – and won 3 of 4 games. And she didn’t let him win.
Watching Dad enjoy something that lay dormant for so many years was inspiring – and a helpful reminder of something so easy to forget: As we mature, we may assume we’ve hit a ceiling on how much we can grow, learn or accomplish. We think, “What else is there for me to do? I’m done. I’m stuck.”
That’s baloney. Hogwash. Hokum.
Our growth ain’t over until it’s all over. Our potential to grow doesn’t end until we take our last breath. It’s up to us to stay open to being stretched in new ways. Sometimes, the stretching hurts. But, sometimes, it’ll bring a genuine smile to your face – like a familiar game of checkers on a sunny afternoon.
Have you hit the Pause button on growing into all you can do and become?