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06-26-05, 03:44 AM

A five of diamonds won the trick and the Queen of Spades. She sighed. She didnít like getting the Queen of Spades. It spelt loss and she was tired of losing.

It was just another game of hearts. She played the computer game every evening until she went to bed. She played the game in the morning before she went to work. She played it on the weekends between laundry, cleaning, and errands. It absorbed her. It kept her mind from thinking of reality, of a gritty unknown future. It kept her from facing her shortcomings. It kept her from thinking of all her losses. She played one hand after another.

At first, she played a simple strategy, pass three cards to try to make a void but she kept losing. So, she reexamined her strategy as she grumbled and complained that the program was rigged. She focused her attention on the cards again, looking for patterns. Losing game after game on the computer reminded her of her own life and of her poor strategies. She wanted to win a game. She wanted to win in life.

She changed her strategy. She passed a high card from three suits and played to keep out of the lead. She won a game or two. Adjust your strategy towards life was a lesson she recognized. Even a card game challenged her to face reality.

A four of clubs won the trick and there was the Queen of Spades again. She groaned and felt doomed when she realized part of the gameís strategy was to demoralize a player with the Queen of Spades and let their attitude defeat them. While the Queen of Spades was worth 13 points, there were still 13 other points the other players could collect. With that thought, she played a card knowing others would have to take the trick. It got her out of the lead and she didnít get any more points. She didnít win , but she didnít lose. Another lesson, your attitude towards lifeís blows can play into your defeat. From then on she wasnít bothered by the Queen of Spades. She won a few more games.

She continued to play the game hour after hour inspired by a few wins. The game focused her attention away from desperate thoughts. She winced when her Ace of Diamonds on the first round caught the Queen of Spades. Uneven card distribution discouraged her and she was amazed when her hand, barren of face cards, took most of the hearts. At times perserverance was the only strategy she had.

Occasionally, she would win all the hearts and she didnít see it coming. Sometimes life gives you unsought chances and opportunities, take them and be grateful. Another lesson. Yes, life dished up surprises, too, and you canít always plan for them.

Sometimes she found herself with a hand she had no idea how to play and fumbled her way through. Thatís how she often felt about life, she was just fumbling her way through.

She learned to play low and that seemed to work more often than any other strategy. Wasnít that how she played life? Lay low, keep out of sight, avoid recognition. Occasionally, she ventured to take all the hearts and pass 26 points onto the other three simulated players. Sometimes she won, sometimes she lost. She realized that taking chances, or playing to win werenít natural instincts in her, she had to push herself.

In the bloodless games she played, she realized that not all losses were fatal, not all losses determined your future. There were many ways to play the hand you are dealt.

After playing the game again and again, she realized that she wasnít always losing but she wasnít winning either. She was coming in second or third. She smiled and thought, another lesson -- change your perspective. Let the world heap their hopes and dreams on the winners, she would survive.

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