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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: Journey of Choices
By Pam Carlson-Hetland


DeeAnne prayed over the evening’s gathering as she set out snacks. The Women’s Fellowship meetings had been tense lately. She hoped to get the perspective back on track.

After everyone had filled their plates, she spoke. “I thought we’d try something different tonight. Years ago, I made up a game for my family. With some modifications, I think it’ll be fun for us.”

Interested murmurs arose as DeeAnne unfolded a large board across the table. A narrow strip that looked like stepping stones ran lengthwise down the middle. The place marked “start” was shaped like a cradle. The other end was marked with a crown. Curvy bands of marked spacing veered away from the narrow strip. They were entwined in a chaotic tangle. Some were painted black, others red, or a lukewarm beige. Only the Narrow Path down the center connected the beginning to the end of the game board.

“What’s this called?” Paula asked, helping herself to a second piece of cake.

“Journey of Choices.”

“Choices are fun.” Lacey cooed. Nibbling a celery stick, she leaned forward revealing ample cleavage. “By the way, Paula, how is your diet group going?” she asked sweetly. Paula set her unfinished cake down.

“Nice sweater, Lacey.” Maggie commented. “I saw it at Fashion Boutique. Ned would’ve killed me if I’d worn that.”

“Really? I get oodles of compliments.”

“Does your husband approve of such seductive clothing?” Paula asked.

Lacey shot her a dirty look but just shrugged.

DeeAnne hurriedly passed out a box of toy cars to start the game. “OK...here’s how it works. Each player chooses their “vehicle” for the journey board. You draw a “Circumstance” card and read it aloud. Then choose one of the “Decisions” listed at the bottom. Depending on the “decision” you made, the moderator –me– gives you the corresponding “Result” from this other box. Each player has a Tool Chest. You can use those tools to change the result. The goal’s to keep your “vehicle” on the Narrow Path and attain the Crown at the end.”

The game began simply. Laughter filled the room as players made choices regarding such things as bad hair day fixes or grocery shopping while hungry. But as the game progressed, the choices got tougher. Soon the ladies opened their tool chests and used shoes of peace for dealing with in-laws and neighbors. The shield of faith came out for threats of unemployment or health issues. Occasionally, someone’s choice sent them to Worldly Way or sidelined them in Devil’s Detour. But mostly, each player progressed along Narrow Path toward the Crown.

“Oh, get this...” Paula read her latest “Circumstance” card. “After successfully losing 10 lbs., you have been asked to be a pie judge at the county fair. Do you: A. Accept the offer because your favorite local chef will also be a judge. B. Decide to go but only take one bite of each pie. Or C. Decline the offer to keep on track with your diet.”

Paula rolled her eyes. “The story of my life. I should choose C. but I’d do B. What’s the result, DeeAnne?”

DeeAnne read the moderator’s card, “Sorry...it says: ‘Warning! You’ve entered Temptation Trail.’ ” Paula groaned.

Lacey was next. “You’re married. An attractive man at work flirts with you.” she read. “Do you: A. Politely keep your relationship business-like. B. Let him know you’re married but flirt back. C. Don’t tell him you’re married and have lunch with him.”

“No harm in having some fun!” Lacey exclaimed. “B!”

DeeAnne read the moderator’s card. “It says: ‘Danger zone! Go directly to Temptation Trail.’”

“Look, Lacey,” Terri observed. “You and Paula are both in the same place.”

Paula and Lacey looked at each other. Suddenly, tears streamed down Lacey’s face. “There’s this guy at work. He asked me out. Tyler’s always traveling for his job. I’m so lonely.”

Paula hugged Lacey. “When my husband was in Afghanistan, I filled my loneliness with food. I paid a price with my health. But giving into this temptation could cost you a marriage.”

“I know.” Lacey sniffed.

“Let’s pray.” DeeAnne said softly. The women bowed their heads.

“Father, we are Your children. We all face difficult circumstances, but we have one common Enemy who constantly seeks to get us off track. Help us keep our eyes on the goal. Teach us to use the tools You have given us for our journey. And remind us to encourage one another along the way. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.”

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This article has been read 821 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 09/18/08
Boy, this sounds like a game I HAVE played! Great story and message about keeping on the narrow path. Some of those choices are just so subtle-you don't always know that you're straying off the path-even just a teeny bit.
RuthAnn Cornelson09/18/08
Good story! Reminded me of a song I listen to often. It says, "Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says give in, just hold on, the Lord will show up and He'll take you through the fire again." Great reminder in your story also, to hold on and stand firm in the Lord. Good writing. Very real.
Kristen Hester09/18/08
EXCELLENT story. Your writing is superb. I'd love that game. If you created it, I'd suggest marketing it. I think it would sell. AWESOME. Your characters are well developed. BrAVO!
Sharlyn Guthrie09/20/08
I especially like how Paula and Lacey found themselves on the same path and discovered their mutual need. It would be wonderful if we could all see the struggles of others as so similar to our own. Great job!
Shelley Ledfors 09/22/08
Wonderful entry! I could really "see" your characters. If the game you described doesn't exist...it should! Very well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/22/08
I do believe you could market this game with its Christian messages. Great job.
Celeste Ammirata09/23/08
Great game! :-) Seems we all have our own temptations. I'd love to own this game. Nice take on the topic and wonderfully written.
Chely Roach09/24/08
Wonderfully told story...nicely done!
Karlene Jacobsen09/24/08
I love this game! Where can I get one? My family and I could grow so much as we learn to make right choices.

This is an incredible piece.
Peter Stone10/02/08
Cool game, I want to play it. Liked the way you introduced Lacey and Paula's conflict early on, and then used the game to bring resolution later.
Edy T Johnson 03/23/09
Dear Friend, you not only write so well (I love your ability to flesh out your characters in such few choice words), but the message comes through from a heart obviously full of the Word, the entrance of which gives light! Great writing, and I agree, you should market this game.

Thank you, too, for finding my new short story and leaving your comment. I sure appreciate you (and hope we can have another girls' day out soon!) Love and hugs!